A Thank You Note

Last week the Rasmuson Foundation flew me from Barrow to Anchorage, put me up in the swankiest hotel in the state, and paid for my meals all so I could attend an awards ceremony: the 2014 Individual Artist Awards. I received a project award of $7,500 to upgrade my equipment and advance my career as an art photographer. So while I was waking up in my super amazing hotel room bed and ordering room service (something I’d normally never dream of doing), I felt a number of things. The first was physical. I hadn’t woken up without my back hurting …

T is for Tuttu

With the return of the sun, it seems like life is starting to wake up again in the arctic. Maybe this is just my perception after holing up in the house during the two months of darkness, but people are out hunting and (to me) anyway it seems that spirits have lifted as each day brings more light and with it beautiful colors. It’s almost like the new year in the arctic should begin on the first day the sun comes up. We’ve also been blessed with some warm weather, which has made getting outside and enjoying it that much …

Planned Spontaneity

I recently photographed a wedding. As an art photographer who rarely photographs people, this took me out of my usual comfort zone for sure. While going through the work of editing the photos and putting them up on this site (an all-consuming pastime lately), I asked a friend to look at them to tell me what she thought and see if everything on the website was easy to find and worked properly. As expected, she loved them but she had one critique, “This is far too serious for me. It looks like planned spontaneity.” My first reaction was… well, that’s …

Icebow

Icebow, a photo by missmerv on Flickr. Our first beautiful day of winter. Highs in the 20s, not much wind, fresh snow underfoot, and a beautiful icebow over the Arctic Ocean. Days like this are rare this time of year, so we all bundled up to play in the snow. Unfortunately, my son prefers to play when there’s a stiff breeze and it’s nasty out. Go figure.

Last day of summer…

What turned out to be the last pretty day, a photo by missmerv on Flickr. The day after I returned from Anchorage we had what would be the last day of summer. I’m glad it waited for me to return because it WAS glorious, even if for only one more day. The snow is here to stay.

Maclaren Summit, Denali Highway, AK

Maclaren Summit, a photo by missmerv on Flickr. Last week I took advantage of a rare opportunity to get out of Barrow and head south to the subarctic to do a photography workshop along the Denali Highway with my good friend and teacher, Hal Gage. The landscape around Barrow is so minimalist and the beauty so subtle that it was rather overwhelming to re-experience the beauty that is the Alaska Range. The flat tundra of the north slope can make one feel conspicuous and vulnerable.  Its openness is mystifying.   This landscape, though just as open, enhances feelings of anonymity …

Snow. It’s August.

So living in the arctic is something of an adventure and you learn to expect what most would consider unexpected.  One day of snow in August… eh, it’s the arctic. It happens. Two days in a row of snow with some on the ground… reality seeps in and countdown to depression in 3…. 2…… 1………

Subsistence

Untitled, a photo by missmerv on Flickr. Inupiat whalers in Barrow, AK butcher a whale on the beach.  This is an unusual sight in July.  Spring whaling is usually done by May, but since the sea ice from which they base their hunt was unstable this year no whales were caught during the normal hunting season.