Artist Statement

In a harmonic convergence during the summer of 2000, I received a camera – a Sony Mavica digital camera – as a gift, and I was hired to work on an excursion boat that made daily trips from Juneau to Tracy Arm in Southeast Alaska. I was 17 years old, and I’ve had a camera within arm’s reach ever since.

 

That first summer, I had the opportunity to study and photograph an extraordinarily stunning and changing landscape of glaciers, water, mountains, and ice, day after day.  I worked at capturing images that could interpret the experience of the glaciers calving, the Adventure Bound riding out swells while icebergs drifted against the metal hull. Days of gray sky and gray water alternated with blinding sunlight reflecting off the Sawyer Glaciers, mother-and-pup seals gliding past on bits of ice.

 

Through my college years, I continued to work in tourism, and serendipity was added to the convergence; I began working for a helicopter flightseeing operation, and took every chance that offered to fly with my camera, shooting from the copter, or getting dropped on remote peaks that I could later hike out from. I began to “specialize” in aerial and glacier photography. I also had the opportunity to observe many fine professional and amateur photographers.

 

In my day job, I am an information technology professional. I have also operated Alaska Imagery, my photography business, for nearly eight years, marketing my photography and performing occasional layout work for clients. My images have been available through Picture This Gallery in Juneau since 2006, and I have exhibited my work for about that length of time.

 

As an artist, photography became my medium because it blends the visual and the technical. My inner nerd is satisfied by finding limits of my gear and the equipment, assessing light, camera stops, challenging weather, pushing my limits athletically. Aerial photography adds several layers of planning and calculation, choosing the most suitable and available aircraft, communicating with the pilot, and analyzing terrain, speed, radius, and other technical needs. I use GoogleEarth and other sources of historic and geographic data to plan shoots weeks or months in advance. After a shoot, I work in the modern equivalent of a darkroom – manipulating images so that the viewer can see what I saw, usually from a very different vantage point than most people have experienced Alaska.
 
My skill set continues to further expand in my darkroom as I experiment with more exotic printing technology and display methods, including kitchen tools and wall decorations on challenging and ancient art materials like glass and ceramic. Keep visiting to see new permutations of Alaska Imagery on different materials.

Toby