I sailed into the high arctic at the beginning of last winter on board a 1957 fishing boat retrofitted to appear like a tall ship. This floating art and science residency brought artists together from around the world for a three week adventure along the northwestern coast of Svalbard. My colleagues arrived in Lonyearbyen from far flung cities such as Shanghai and Seoul and Barcelona and Luxembourg and Athens and Belgrade. Together we endured close quarters and trying circumstances--rough passages and bad weather and multiple unexpected mishaps and detours not the least of which included a broken desalination machine which greatly limited our supply of freshwater. By the final week we were at sea we only had four hours of workable light per day for making landings, each of which required elaborate preparation. Four rifle toting women would make land first to clear a perimeter in which we were allowed to work, and once we were on land we had to work fast in dim light and weather so bizarrely warm and wet it was hard to believe we were actually in the high arctic.Read More
It has been a long, strange winter filled with hard work and many odd twists and turns. I am particularly grateful to Frank Walker for his feature on my recent work on the Adorama Learning Center website https://www.adorama.com/alc/meet-a-pro-tama-baldwin I specifically appreciate the connections he made between my different bodies of work. I would never have thought to refer to myself as a documentary photographer, but when I told Frank Walker that he just let out a big laugh. Sorry, he said. You are. Maybe, I said. But I didn't mean to be.Read More
I am just now catching up from almost six months of traveling. Between July of last year and last week I was on the road more or less constantly. We drove from Iowa City to Arizona last summer, a trip that brought us to the cool airy heights of the Chiracahua Mountains in southeast Arizona where we were able to look out over the desert and watch the monsoons sailing through below, their big gray ballooning clouds looking more and more like Spanish galleons. It was easy to imagine Coronado traveling through those mountains, and later Cochise--whose body was thought to be secretly buried here--and the ghosts of Buffalo Soldiers in hot pursuit. In Chiricahua National Monument you can find the ecological wonder known as "sky islands," unique micro climates that host species that have been stranded there since the last Ice Age. It's also a geologist's paradise, with distinctive volcanic formations that are among the most unique and other-worldly I have seen outside of Iceland. From there we went to Phoenix where we were able to catch the Edward Burtynsky show "Water" at the Phoenix Art Museum and then onward to LA, San Diego, and West Hollywood.Read More
There's a lot of news to share and it's much better news than what you'll find on American TV at the moment I am pleased to say, but for now I just want to mention this group show I will be a part of through the next month at the Los Angeles Center of Photography. I am super excited to be in such good company with yet another Kotzebue image--this one of one of the strangest buildings in the village. I feel a little silly offering up a picture of a warehouse as part of a landscape series, but the structure made me laugh every time I walked past it so I finally made a portrait of it one day last summer when I was in northwestern Alaska for the wedding of two of my favorite people, a wedding that strangely enough I was responsible for documenting with my cameras (please note I did not nor will I ever refer to myself as a wedding photographer; I don't have the courage for that trade and I am in awe of those who can herd cats, perform advanced crisis counseling, and take pictures at the same time.)Read More
I spent the month of September 2015 and two weeks in January 2016 as an artist-in-residence on the Carpenter Ranch, a working cattle operation and conservation site in the northwestern reaches of the Colorado Rockies. The Nature Conservancy, one of the co-sponsors of my stay, bought the property twenty years ago with the goal of protecting two things simultaneously: the cultural heritage of the ranch and the rather rare example of riparian forest shouldering the stretch of the Yampa River running through the property. Because so much of my current photographic work explores the intersection of human institutions and wild nature I was thrilled to have the chance to work in a landscape where that subject is a central focus. Below you will find a little story about my time working on the ranch should you care to read it, or if you want to skip forward to the pictures you can find them in my portfolio The Industrial Pastoral.Read More
I would that I were in London right now, taking this whole scene in, meeting some of these photographers. I feel so fortunate to have my work in such good company! The show will tour the UK through 2016.
The Center for Fine Art Photography is a fantastic resource for anyone who loves fine art photography. I loved being a part of the Center Forward show and loved even more meeting and sharing work with the photographers included this year. I highly recommend the center as a place to visit regularly as the work featured in the galleries is as innovative and fresh as any I have seen in galleries anywhere. What a thrill!
I so wish I could have been there to see this show. The next best thing though is to have one of my photographs there on the wall.
I met a man in Kotzebue who told me he was sure it is possible to hear the sound of the aurora borealis. He said you had to wait for a night when the air was perfectly still and you had to take yourself far out where there were no other sounds whatsoever. The kind of quiet he said where you are suddenly aware of the sound of your heart beating and then as the light descends toward you you can hear it crackling through the atmosphere.Read More
This weekend the Kobuk 440 sled dog race is taking place in arctic Alaska. The start and finish is in Kotzebue and the trail takes the teams 440 miles through the Kobuk Valley. It is April, which means the days are blindingly long, over 14 hours of daylight now, and though the temperatures are considerably more mild there are still all the dangers of winter travel in the arctic--the challenges of river ice, the isolation of the wilderness that deftly punishes the incapable and the unprepared.Read More