Awards

People of the Whale wins 2017 PDN World in Focus Award

PDN has awarded my series ‘People of the Whale‘ in the 2017 World in Focus Travel Photography Competition. It’s a set of images that give you the feeling of being out on the sea ice in Arctic Alaska. From my statement about the series:

Far out on the ice, under the never-setting sun of Arctic spring, time evaporates. The mind calms and you begin to inhale the world around you: the cold, the wind, the ice, the quiet, the wait.

But underneath the damper of stillness, life boils. Out on the tuvaq–the expansive interface of sea and ice–everything happens. On the tuvaq, the whale breaches. The maktaq is eaten. The hunters watch the horizon. We wait. There is no need for words. The mind is still.

Many thanks to my Iñupiaq friends and crew who made it possible to tell the story of life in the far North, and to the mystery of the sea ice.

People of the Whale wins PDN 2017 Award

PDN has awarded my series ‘People of the Whale‘ in the 2017 Photo Annual. It’s a small set of images that give you a glimpse into the deep community of Iñupiat village Utqiagviq, Alaska.

My selection of images for PDN focuses on an Iñupiaq concept called ilitqusiat, or that which makes strangers into family. In a sense, I found this idea to be compelling because I was a stranger when I initially arrived in the Arctic villages where I did this work, but more so because the Iñupiat are at their core, about community.

ilitqusiat– (n) that which makes strangers into family.

I think if I’ve come away with any single observation, it is that Western cultures have a difficult time even conceiving how deep and different the indigenous concept of community is. Rather than some kind of single collective mind consuming all individual will, the Iñupiat are just individuals that believe in individualism, but whose highest callings are to serve their communities.

Qunayaq to all the friends who have made me their family there, and to my ilitqusiat experiences on the North Slope.