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Know the West

See the hard-won equilibrium of Alaska

A compilation of work by Alaskan photographers explores life in the North.


In Up Here, a book of photos, essays and poems curated by the Anchorage Museum, the North is a way of living rather than a latitudinal state. With photographs from Brian Adams, Acacia Johnson, Oscar Avellaneda-Cruz, Clark Mishler and others, Up Here zooms in on the contours of Northern lives amid landscapes that could seem deserted from a distance. But there is always movement: People are dwarfed by iceberg chunks, gut sockeye salmon and play cards on the banks of the Kenai River. Humans and nature seem to exist in hard-won equilibrium. In both photographs and text, climate change’s oncoming impacts on the vulnerable region appear. “Maps have long showed the Arctic at the edge — up at the top, far away from the center of humanity,” Julie Decker, one of the curators, writes in her opening essay. “Today the Arctic is at the edge of discovering the limits and the glory of human resilience.” 

Up Here,
Edited by Julie Decker and Kirsten J. Anderson
195 pages, hardcover: $44.95
The University of Washington Press, 2016