From June to September 2015, I was part of a convoy of local and international scientists in Utqiaġvik (aka Barrow), Alaska, to work on a story about Arctic research, climate change, and culture. Aiming to put a human face on the massive amount of research being done in the US Arctic and highlight its importance beyond political boundaries, I packed my things and took off to the northernmost point of the US.
The Arctic has the stereotype of being pristine and untouched. To that end, science is thought to be practiced within a pristine and untouched environment. Spotless white lab coats, disinfected surfaces, closed-toed shoes. Both happen to be vividly inhabited and complex. Formidable logistical obstacles mingle with human enthusiasm in the quest to make a life for oneself or conduct research.
A shifting culture on the front line of climate change. Men and women looking for answers, practicing methods. Consequences and opportunities. All part of an intricate plot that never stops evolving. I have never been in a place that constantly challenged my convictions so much.
The camera allows me to interact and participate in the life of people that I otherwise wouldn't be able to. I do it to experience or at least interpret their experiences.
This journey was possible thanks to the generosity of Dr. Craig Tweedie and The Systems Ecology Laboratory at The University of Texas at El Paso. Also, with the support of the local El Paso arts community.