April 16, 2013

Old Harbor, Kodiak Island, Alaska

A happy surprise. I never thought of this as a cover image but was very pleased when I saw the final product!
      I have a wonderful working relationship with First Alaskans Magazine based here in Anchorage. I've been doing various assignments for them for about four years now and each one is challenging and interesting. The magazine deals exclusively with Alaska Native issues. Weather I'm photographing a traditional healer, a woman working on suicide prevention, or photographing dancers, singers, and drummers, I always feel lucky to be involved.
      My favorite project I'm involved with is a feature called "Beyond The Road". The purpose of this section of the magazine is to highlight native villages that lie off of the road system, that is, only accessible by air or boat. I absolutely relish the opportunity to explore the unique villages, people, and culture of bush Alaska. I've been to four locations so far and each has been rewarding photographically and personally fulfilling.
      Initially I'm a little nervous as I first start to explore a new village. They are usually fairly small so any newcomer stands out. The way I handle this beforehand is to establish some contacts before heading out and basically letting the village know there will be "some guy with a camera" wandering around taking photos. Once they know I'm featuring them in the magazine I'm welcomed with open arms and have encountered nothing but friendliness and cooperation.
      I visited Old Harbor in May. This mostly Alutiiq village, is nestled on the coast of Kodiak Island along the protected shores of Sitkalidak Strait. I was blown away by the stunning setting which came with an abundance of wildlife as well. I was even more impressed with the people. I was given food and lodging by Jeff Peterson of Kodiak Combos/ Peterson's Adventures. he also took me out on his boat with a group he had in town for some chartered king salmon fishing. I highly recommend Jeff and his lodge! Also, Tribal Administrator, Fred Brooks, took me around the village and its surroundings and introduced me to many of the local residents.
      My favorite incident was as I was about to leave the village. A woman I had only met once the day before showed up to give me a ride to the airport and she had brought a full on dinner for me to eat in the car on the way. If you'd like to read more about Old Harbor contact the magazine here. below are some of my favorite images from the adventure!

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