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Aurora Photographer Nick Hall was recently featured in PDN's 30 2011 here is a brief question and answer with Nick about his Photography and work.
Aurora Photos: Your series Seasons of Subsistence on the Yup'ik Eskimos in Alaska has been an on going project. Can you shed some light on where the idea came from and how the project continues to unfold?
Nick Hall: I have been spending my summers in Bristol Bay, Alaska for several years now, I suppose I would say it has become my second home. In the summer of 2009 I spent a week at a traditional Yup'ik summer fishing camp. It was the first time I had ever witnessed the traditional subsistence activities of Yup'ik Eskimos first hand and I was utterly captivated. There was a lot of down time in between fishing for me to chat with all the people there and I was overwhelmed by what I was learning about the Native Alaskan subsistence lifestyle. I promised myself then and there that I was going to develop a personal project to explore this story. The story is made even more compelling to me as a former environmental scientist by the fact that a British (I'm originally a Brit) mining corporation is proposing to build the world's largest open-pit mine right in the heart of Bristol Bay and the headwaters of its salmon rivers, which I must add are the most productive salmon rivers left on Earth. I called the project Seasons of Subsistence and I have been visiting Bristol Bay every season for the past two years.
The project has evolved a lot since I first imagined it. Last summer, 2010, I took a bunch of location lighting gear up to Bristol Bay and created a series of environmental protraits. My intention was to capture the people I had been photographing perviously and also the immense landscape of Bristol Bay. I think the results are pretty dramatic and there has been a great response from them. On my last trip to Bristol Bay, just this past March, we went even further with the project and shot a short documentary film. We are hoping to release the film in the next few weeks. I have teamed up with a super awesome Producer/Editor and I am just so excited about the convergence of still and motion technology right now. There are so many cool ways to blend the media (stills and motion) and develop seriously rich narratives.
A.P: Your portfolio showcases editorial projects, photo essays and commercial work. Can you share what the transition has been like moving into a more commercial realm?
N.H: This transition is something I have been working on and is still a work in progress. I think it is important to have a diversified business model that incorporates commercial and editorial clients. Also from a creative point of view I love the diversity of challenges one faces on editorial projects compared to commercial. I can't imagine not doing a mixture of both.
To view more work from Nick Hall, visit Aurora Photos.