Oct 26, 2008

road trips and opportunity

i've been enjoying Simon Roberts' blog lately and his unabashed love of the road trip as a photography vehicle, as he produces photographs for is new series We English. he and i share the same love, and it speaks as much to my last post as to anything i suppose. i find the idea of setting out into unknown visual and emotional vistas ridiculously romantic. reading his past several posts feels like reading through unpublished drafts on my blogger dashboard.

his words on Sternfeld, Shore, Frank, Soth, Stein, Paul Graham, and Roberts himself, resonate as true as anything with me. during my lonely trips up north, i have conversations with them all, to myself of course- sometimes internally, sometimes aloud. it's taken a while, but my internal dialog of "what would Alec do" has been replaced by a comfort and understanding of my own methods and solutions. of course, actually engaging the shutter is such a small part of the experience. the responsibility to oneself to see things clearly, to adhere to an internal rhetoric, to not miss the plot is tremendous. i realize i'm guilty sometimes of getting too wrapped up in place. but, the fact is i wasn't a photographer when i moved here. i made photos, but i wasn't a photographer. it's taken me a long time to take photos of Alaska as anything other than a tourist. i've found it difficult to see past my ideologies to find my reality, and to find my own answers as a photographer. it's a messy place much of the time. my love of the road north in itself is full of hypocrisies, but it's this messiness that i find most compelling.

Balance, 2008
© Ben Huff

i'm heading to Deadhorse for the last time this year in a few days. i've picked this time, a few days before the upcoming election, intentionally. i'll be looking for, among other things, signs of the election and that of the Alaskan temperament right now. i doubt i find much overtly political, even at Prudhoe Bay, but i'm open to whatever develops. the thing that i find encouraging lately, is that the idea of "what is Alaskan?" is seeping into everyday conversation here. it's a question that us short timers, as well as longtime residents are asking themselves and each other. our Governor, come pitbull, has spawned a surprising conversation in this red state, and has made the whole landscape of Alaska a little more messy. the reality of her tumbling approval rating here in Alaska, the denouncement of her ticket by Alaska's biggest newspaper and the words of esteemed authors Nick Jans and Seth Kantner have articulated what many here feel.

as a photographer, i feel a weight right now. with the exception of my vote (which i cast last week for Obama/Biden) my photography is my voice. i'm entering a pivotal time. this final trip of the year will be the last before i construct a final edit for a show here next year. i'm far from being done with this project, but in two weeks i'll have closed the book on the first chapter, so to say.

i'm confidant about many things these days, which is a fairly new to me lately. one thing i am confident in is that the days of beautiful photos of Alaska simply for the sake of it are effectively dead in the age of Palin. it's time for an honest dialog.


ned rozell said...

hope you had some nice discoveries up there, brotha

ben huff said...

too many to count, Ned. let's get together soon and talk books..

Pod said...

great image mr huff

Locations of visitors to this page