An image captured by a Haines man has been selected for a traveling exhibit that showcases the work of Alaska’s photographers. John Hagen’s photo is one of 38 photographs selected for the Alaska Positive series.
This year marks the 49th anniversary of the biennial exhibit for photographers of the 49th state. Hagen says it’s a pretty big deal for the photography community.
“Your photography gets to tour Alaska. It’s put on by the State of Alaska Museum,” Hagen says. “It’s kind of almost a census of the state of photography as an art form in Alaska.”
Hagen’s work will be included in the exhibit with photos taken by 26 other Alaskans. The images were selected by David Michael Kennedy, a famous photographer who’s work can be found in the National Portrait Gallery. Hagen says he became a fan of Kennedy’s work while studying in New Mexico.
“As a student I was kind of a gallery bum and would go see what kind of work was out on a regular basis. His stuff was pretty spectacular to see in person,” Hagen says. “It’s really exciting to have one of your pieces picked for a show by a juror who’s work you really admire.”
Earlier this year, Hagen took a photography trip to Bristol Bay with the help of an award from the Rasmuson Foundation. He wanted to create photos of the place where his family and ancestors are from. His photo, The Sound of Wind and Grass came from that trip and will be displayed in the Alaska Positive exhibit.
“The piece shows an old house in the background with blowing grass in the foreground. I was able to sum up what it was like in that part of Bristol Bay in a single photograph. The place is so quiet. It sounds silly to say it’s a lot more quiet than the booming metropolis of Haines with all the sound, but all you hear is the sound of wind and grass,” Hagen says.
Alaska Positive opens at the Alaska State Museum on December 6. The exhibition will travel to museums in Sitka, Fairbanks, Haines, Cordova, Valdez and Ketchikan over the next two years.
The Sound of Wind and Grass and other photos from Hagen’s collection are available to view here.