Sea Ice Stories is a project by photographer Acacia Johnson. Through large-format photographs and written stories, the project will explore the role of sea ice in the daily lives, identities, and worldviews of young people in this remote Canadian Arctic settlement. How does sea ice function as a platform for community and transfer of indigenous knowledge?
The results of Sea Ice Stories - through online publishing, an exhibition, or a book - will help weave these stories and indigenous perspectives into international dialogues about the North. The goal is to make a beautiful, positive and meaningful contribution to global awareness of Arctic issues - highlighting the importance of sea ice not only to the earth's changing climate, but to people, cultural identity, and community.
From late April through June 2018, I will live in Arctic Bay, Nunavut, on the north of Baffin Island, an Inuit community with which I am already well acquainted. More than any other time of year, this is an active season for the community, when many people travel and camp extensively on the sea ice, hunting, fishing, and passing on traditional skills to youth. It is also the season of 24-hour daylight, the end of the school year, and community events such as the annual Fishing Derby.
From a base in Arctic Bay, I will join families as they travel and camp on the sea ice, photographing with a large-format view camera and learning as much as possible about life on the ice, collecting stories along the way. When Internet is available, updates, photographs and stories will be posted on on the project's blog.
I will also lead a photography workshop for high school students during my stay, focusing on photography as a tool for storytelling - but also as a way to engage with the Arctic environment, providing a basic framework of marketable skills within photography and Arctic tourism. The goal will be to expand awareness for what photography can be used for, both within and beyond the limits of the local horizon.
At the end of June, I will return home and begin the long process of film developing, editing, writing, and reflection necessary to produce a polished, finished product. A first final version of the series is estimated to be completed by the end of 2019.