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Eirik Johnson Photographs The Extreme Contrast Of Summer And Winter In Alaska

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Barrow Cabins
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The Seattle-based photographer and mixed-media artist Eirik Johnson has been traveling to Alaska since 2010 to photograph Barrow Cabins, his series of melancholic images that portray the stark contrast of hunting cabins during the Arctic’s seasonal changes.

“The cabins were built by the native Iñupiat inhabitants of Utqiaġvik, previously known as Barrow,” explains Johnson. Situated in the northernmost point of Alaska, for two months over the winter period the small town of Utqiaġvikin doesn’t see any daylight; a phenomenon known as polar night. Conversely in summer, omnipresent sunshine occurs. However, due to its position north of the Arctic Circle, weather conditions year-round can only be described as extreme and consistently harsh—with temperatures averaging slightly above freezing only periodically in July and August. High winds and heavy snowfall contribute to the region’s epithet, ‘ice desert’, despite its location next to the Arctic Ocean. The cabins are found along the shores of the Chukchi Sea, an area known for its hunting, fishing, and whaling. Each was constructed out of found materials, from old shipping pallets to weathered plywood collected from a nearby decommissioned Navy Base. “Seen together, both the summer and winter series are a meditation on the passage of time, and the seasonal shift along the extreme horizon of the Arctic,” says Johnson. Barrow Cabins was recently published as a photo book by Ice Fog Press. For more information or to purchase a copy, click here.

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All images © Eirik Johnson