August 26th, 2011
My Kivalina work was recently included in a grant to the Open Society Institute by film maker Jenni Monet as part of her distribution plan. Subsequently, the photo agency Worldwide Image Navigation (WIN-Initiative), which holds an “image collection from the independent minds and unique creative perspectives of gifted photographers worldwide,” featured my work with a joint interview in their WINk Magazine, an online publication with a very attractive presentation. Click through to Page 75 to read the article.
The slow creep of things like climate change means stories created a few years ago are still extremely relevant. In 2008 I went to the remote Alaskan village of Kivalina on assignment for Germany’s Spiegel Magazine. My five days in Alaska was an amazing experience; having grown up in the northwest and having a librarian for a mother, I was exposed to many stories about native cultures. Reading about whale hunting is one thing, actually going out on the sea ice for a whale hunt is something I’d never imagined actually doing.
As part of a program to educate the Inuit, the government forced a loose knit group of nomadic families to live year-round at their summer fishing grounds. This worked, in part, because the sea is frozen during the stormy winter months, protecting the coast line. Now, with climate change, the sea ice is forming late and melting early; their shore is disappearing as winter storms quickly erode the alluvial soil.
Kivalina is suing the oil companies in order to pay for their relocation; if the village isn’t moved, it will have to disband when houses start falling into the sea, further fracturing what is essentially a 400 person family and destroying a culture already struggling to maintain its identity.
I’m not the only one in the media to have visited Kivalina, but very few have stayed more the a few days, or formed the kinds of relationships necessary to gain true insight into Kivalina and its social fabric. I feel very fortunate to have been able to make some of those connections, build the relationships, and get out onto the ice. I would have loved to have stayed longer.
Documentarian Jenni Monet is someone who found a way to commit the time and money to stay. She’s spent months living in Kivalina, filming her documentary, and I am quite happy to have partnered with her through my still photography as part of the distribution of her film.
Read the whole article on page 75 here, at WINk Magazine.
You might also like a great interview with Balazs Gardi, a contributor to Basetrack, a novel way of connecting people to the war in Afghanistan, as well as a lot of iPhonography.
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