March 27, 2014

Samuel Johns

Yesterday I had the pleasure of photographing up and coming Anchorage musician Samuel Johns. Samuel, a member of the Ahtna native community (a subculture of Athabascan) was born and raised in Copper Center, AK. By the time he was 21 he had already spent most of his life battling alcoholism. Then he had a daughter and knew he had to quit. He's been sober seven years now and spends a good deal of his time giving music back to the community. He writes and performs his own rap songs but also has taken to learning traditional drumming and singing. He performs once a week for Bean's Caffe, a large shelter here in Anchorage, and is making quite a name for himself. I was asked by Cook Inlet Tribal Council to take some images of him for an upcoming feature in their Access 360 magazine. To help Samuel out we also decided to do a little extra work and let him have some of the images for his self promotion.  For these images, in his traditional regalia, we went up into the mountains. It was a stunningly clear evening. In the top photo you can see Denali in the background. It's remarkable to think that that mountain is 250 miles away and still towers over the horizon. The Chugach Mountains are the backdrop for the second image. We'll be doing some "studio" shots next week and I'll hope to have them up here soon after!

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