OUR BEST SELLING IMAGES:
Are sold, as post-cards, note-cards & fine Art prints of all sizes, every year to tourists and to locals in Anchorage & Fairbanks and beyond. These images have withstood the test of time in that their popularity is increasing each and every year. We opened our Educational Fine Art Gallery in Anchorage and the response was overwhelming. Not only from the tourists from 33 different countries that purchased from us, but the response from life long residents of Anchorage, Fairbanks, and beyond from all parts of Alaska. Was the same amazing look of bewilderment, .. “we never knew that all of this went on in those coastal villages ” !
Chasing a Bowhead Whale
The image above was taken on Easter Sunday @ 9:00 a.m. approximately when the temp was 40 below zero. I was passing a house and I could hear the children yelling, screaming as something important was happening, as I came into view my camera came up instantly to record this event of “children chasing a bowhead whale” ! .. .. “.. .. I could hear the words clearly, and recognized the Inupiaq words they were speaking. “killimiik, Killimiik, (hurry up) Aviq (whale) ! Over and over I heard them say those words. Hurry up a whale.!! -[click]- year after year this is our best all time selling image. We had 500 high quality litho posters made that were 24″ x 36” they were gone in no time.
Every year these same images have been our best selling images since 1982 ! Our continued success is due to the fact that images of the Inupiaq peoples are extremly rare in an Art Form type image that are “saleable”.
This is our #2 best selling image, every year.
Oh ! So Lovely
Kathy Rock Age 10 sitting on the seat of a snowmobile 7 miles out on the ocean ice. Inspiration struck me and I knew exactly what I wanted before I approached her. She wanted to smile when I raised my camera and I told her no! Please do not do that. just relax and look past me. look through me as through I am not even here. I spent 1/2 hour with this child and only exposed one frame of film. WowoW !
Midnight in the Arctic
Rex Rock Umailiaq Whaling Captain – Midnight in mid May. This image won the Alaska Press Award and has been published numerous times as well as many of my images in Alaska Magazine, Graphics Arts Publishing Co. Portland Oregon – Alaska’s Arctic. and many other sources in the state of Alaska such as Alaska Business, Alaskan Banks,
Fifty Below zero; food shopping the old traditional manner in the Chukchi Sea in the Bering Strait of upper Alaska 200 miles above the arctic circle. Point Hope has been long the favorite for hunters, as the number of animals that migrate past the point each year.
Seymour & Claudia Tuzroyluk have a 16 x 20 of this hanging on their wall in their home in the village. This is was one of the very first images created down on the ocean ice. It is so cold out, that wind just never stops.
Each whaling camp is identical in each and ever aspect. The same things are located in the same exact places in every camp. These are time tested methods dating back many thousands of years. Inupiaq Technology. Again midnight in mid May. Sit wait, watch, listen, eat and hunt. Sleep is something rare out here on the ice pack. No time for that. These are the conditions that the hunters enjoy the most, when that lead opening is narrow. Sometimes it is very easy to get “caught” on the wrong side of the ice, the lead is also to our right side. when that happens this is very dangerous and can and often spell major problems in getting the crew back to the correct side of the ice on the correct lead opening. Anything can happen out here, and usually does in many unexpected ways.
I had quite a time out here on this first whale hunt. Often I kept asking myself at times, how did I ever get out here, in the middle of frozen no where? Ice is all that you can see for miles in any direction. This is a different world, A different planet, a world of Ice.
Jake Koonuk was the ONE who made this all possible Some members of his crew were furious that a “tanik” or “naulagmi” – (white man) was allowed out here on this “sacred whale hunt”.. .. .. ..”with a camera” !
The truth must be told, Jake told me when he described what happened when John Denver came to visit this village under theh pretense of trying to “help” them. All Mr. Denver did was insult and lie about these people on National Televison on an appearance to the Tonight Show w/Johnny Carson in the summer of 1976.
Jake Koonuk was my whaling captain.
Hi honey, I’m home. mmm that smells good. what’s for dinner tonight ? Having a freezer outside of the house to store food is often a good thing, but food must be placed on top of the house outside to prevent dogs and other animals from eating, or taking the food away. It is a common site on one house here in town to see a dozen caribou, stored on the front roof section of the arctic entry way, (cunny-chuck)
Midnight in the Arctic is sensational. But this image is 2 p.m. in February ! The sun goes down early and rises in late in the morning. Many people think that we are in a six months light and six months darkness, this is not true or closely related to the actual truth. From Mid may until Mid August it doesnt get dark. The rest of the year we have light, every day, The worst time of year for light is in December. It will not get light out until 11 a.m. in the morning and it is dark again at 2:30 in the afternoon.
Living out on the ocean ice is a fun time for all involved. Do these children look cold ? No. It is 30 below zero and these children will play outside for days as though they were at a beach of sand instead of ice and snow. The arctic is extremly dry, and the cold just gets “on” you, it never penetrates through your clothing.
Very cold days and very cold nights as the hunters go out in their umiaqs to search for food. This is not what one would consider a normal way to go food shopping, but everything here in the arctic is different from your world. Hunting and obtaining food is a lot of very hard work. The price is high, there is no guarantee for success. Just the will to keep going on and on.
Midnight in the Arctic, searching for food, is extremly picturesque and inviting, but the strong NOrth wind never stops. The beauty of the Arctic is something that must be seen and felt as no photograph can do justice to the solitude out here, the quiet still of the arctic, the only sounds are the sound of the wind, the ice, and your thoughts.
Note-Cards, Post cards, fine art prints of all sizes. 40 x 60″ was t he largest size we have had printed to date. That request was for the image: Aaka & Aapa the old couple in the next section of favorite images.
An Iglu is not constructed out of snow or ice. That is a myth for the state of Alaska for the regions above the Arctic circle. The inpuiaq peoples have always constructed an Iglu out of whale bones and sod. When covered with snow then the mound like appearance is similiar to what you see in other cultures. An iglu is quite large inside and some have rooms off to the side for other areas, such as sleeping. the entry way is a common area, as families were quite large in the old days and still in these modern times, familes are quite large.
Iglu = one dwelling place. Iglut = two dwelling places & Igluk = 3 dwelling units or more. Many ruins exist today that are becoming visible, from the erosion of the wind and other elements of this ancient area. This broken down “condo” once had the modern use of electricity running to it via the service drop in the left hand side of the image. The porclean insulater is still visible. Today this site is completely collapsed as this image was created in 1982.
Blubber, Maktak (muck tuck) A = uh. Fat.. .. .. “flammable fat” is the one food these people crave and enjoy over all other foods they gather, this is the best food. It keeps them warm(er) and much happier. These people work so hard just to obtain food, No one has the right to tell them they cannot eat their foods, which is part of their culture & tradition for so many thousands of years.
Going to the bathroom out on the ocean ice, is something difficult to describe, it is cold, very very cold, the “private” areas used are often a great distance away from the camps or hunting areas, When a crew member returns only to find or see their crew on the way south in search of food, the cry goes out… .. ‘Hey wait for me ” !!