Arctic Discoveries

Arctic Discoveries: Images from Voyages of Four Decades in the North

Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 144
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  • Book Info
    Arctic Discoveries
    Book Description:

    In this photographic essay, John Bockstoce presents vivid images from four decades of sailing, researching, and photographing in the Arctic. He has journeyed in Alaska and the North Pacific, the Canadian Arctic, and the North Atlantic. His photographs convey his passion for the stark solitude of land, sky, water, and ice, his admiration for the lives and livelihoods of the Arctic's inhabitants, and his fascination with the haunting traces of a fragile human presence in the Far North.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8554-6
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    The air was perfectly clear one evening in June 1971, on the shore of the Arctic Ocean. I was on the gravel beach of the Point Hope Peninsula, the low, wave-formed spit that juts twenty-five miles into the Chukchi Sea from mainland Alaska. More than one hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, it wasn’t dark at all there, but the light had an almost velvet quality, as the sun—deep orange against a purple sky—stood low on the northern horizon.

    To the east it softly washed the fifty-mile palisade of cliffs and headlands, highlighting the deep ravines and...

  4. North Pacific and Western Arctic
    (pp. 9-33)

    I first visited the western Arctic in 1969 with a Swiss archaeological expedition to Saint Lawrence Island, Alaska, near Bering Strait. I immediately was absorbed by the complicated ecology and human history of this region, where two continents and two oceans come together, and strong currents from the North Pacific provide nutrients to the waters from which the inhabitants draw their livelihood.

    Back on mainland Alaska later that summer, I came upon an interesting archaeological site on the beach ridges near Cape Nome on the south coast of the Seward Peninsula. I returned there in the following years to carry...

  5. Canadian Arctic
    (pp. 35-67)

    My first visit to the Canadian Arctic was in 1965, when I worked as a laborer for a small air service in the settlement of Resolute on Cornwallis Island. Five years later I flew to the village of Igloolik as an assistant to an NBC News documentary crew, but in 1972 I entered the Arctic Canada from the west, via the Beaufort Sea, on the first of my umiak voyages. I spent much of the next twenty summers in Canada’s northern waters, probing farther and farther east in various parts of the Northwest Passage, first with the umiak and later...

  6. North Atlantic
    (pp. 69-118)

    I first sailed in Atlantic Arctic waters, aboard Belvedere, on a passage from the Beaufort Sea to Sisimiut, Greenland. As we worked our way into Baffin Bay and headed toward Greenland, I began to comprehend how different things here were from what I had experienced for twenty years in the western Arctic. Instead of the West’s relatively shallow waters, hemmed round by pack ice and the sandy continental shore, here were big seas, rolling across thousands of miles and full of heaving, bruised sea ice and icebergs driven by powerful weather systems and ocean currents. Moreover, the jagged coasts were...

  7. Afterword
    (pp. 119-120)

    That evening at Jabbertown, nearly thirty years ago, I walked slowly back to our camp and rejoined the rhythm of the Eskimos' lives. It struck me then that, without realizing it, I had already been embarked on a voyage of discovery for ten years, and simultaneously I understood that I could not foretell its destination, nor did I wish to know where it would ultimately lead, because the voyage was so thoroughly enjoyable. To date this voyage has taken me more than 50,000 miles in boats in the North. It is a voyage begun, but not ended, I am glad...

  8. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 121-122)