Under the Same Stars
Winter in the Arctic - vibrant, pulsing. Where the throb of club music pours from the community hall, streets alive with the roar of skidoos and the cries of dog teams. Everyone with the eerie glow of their iPad screens in this polar night, the ding of text messages, the glow of the moon, the buzz of televisions and sewing machines and the silent stillness of hunters waiting, waiting. Feasts of walrus, seal and Coca-Cola; everyone talking about the land, returning to the land. Dancing, praying, hunting, sewing, playing games, telling stories, passing time. Waiting for spring, for the return of life - yet everything continues, even in darkness.
For four months, I lived in the small town of Arctic Bay on the north shore of Baffin Island in the Canadian High Arctic, to experience one of the coldest and darkest winters on earth. For three months, the sun did not rise. I was interested in idea of a Circumpolar citizenry based on shared experiences with the Arctic landscape - the things that tie us all together. Yet at the heart of my experience lay not the landscape, as I had thought, but in the people I grew to know, learn from, and care about. People who infuse the landscape with meaning, and who always have.
These are some pictures from that time.
Acacia Johnson is a photographer and artist from Alaska. Her photographic process can be described as expeditionary in nature, exploring her profound connection to the landscapes of the Circumpolar North.
A recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Acacia has exhibited her work internationally; is included in collections at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and the Smithsonian Museum of American History. She also works as a seasonal expedition guide and lecturer in Greenland, Svalbard, the Canadian Arctic and Antarctica.
Recently, Acacia spent a year as a Fulbright scholar in Canada, pursuing a project about the winter landscape of Baffin Island in affiliation with the Ontario College of Art and Design University. She is now based in Norway, but spends much of her time at sea.