As a fifth generation Alaskan, I come from a long line of photographers and vocal community members alike. Fundamentally we are storytellers who choose to capture those moments that may seem unremarkable only until they’ve left us forever, now unreachable and separated by time. Preserving memories is how future generations are able to continue the story. To leaving your own touch of personality through the medium is how an artist can guide that message with emotional attachment.
Totems have been a constant part of my life giving me reference points in time and touchstones that span memories, sounds, and smells. They remind me of who I am and are a reflection of myself. Like them, I am aging, filled with holes, and show change as I have journeyed from birth back to the earth from which I came. My work focuses on expired totems, an existing part of a never-ending inventory of these beautiful fragments in time.
They allow me to walk among ghosts— seeing their stories, hearing the wind and wolves or smelling the fish smoking in the distance from the paint and carved wood that was once fresh as it told its story to the world for the first time. These stories are both sad and joyful, and I help tell them by embracing every crevasse, hole, and missing piece. These are the elements that should be revered and celebrated; honored because it’s through these fragments that ancestors speak.
Printed on large canvas using the Giclee process my photographs can exist and be presented to the viewer in a format that contradicts modern perceptions of photography. We are quick to toss aside the history of yesterday as our world no longer finds the past relevant. When images are transferred from the screen onto canvass, particularly with the Giclee process, they can imitate painting. Emotions come alive and a dimensionality is born that simply is not present when printed any other way.
The expense and effort of this process also limits production. Traveling to aging totem pole sites, capturing images that both speak to me and pass that story on to others, and hosting shows at local galleries restrict the scale of new pieces. However, all of the attributes work together to craft an exclusive and immersive experience for viewers— guiding them on the discovery of a deeper story that is simultaneously new but also their own.