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Spirit of Alaska Captured in 'Alaska Positive' Exhibit
by Joseph Branco


February 10, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - There are few moments more precious in a parent's life than to hold hands with our children to their first visit to the museum. The absolute joyous curiosity and profound interest in art and history our children display is delightful. To see the spirit of Alaska captured in still life through the mind of an artist and the lens of a camera is an experience that words cannot accurately describe.

jpg Alaska Positive Joel Bennett

Joel Bennett's "Kaktovik Whaling Tool Sharpeners"
Photograph Courtesy Tongass Historical Museum

Alaska Positive is a photographic exhibition annually organized and shared in museums across the state. The juried exhibition this year was critiqued by Seattle photographer Michelle Dunn Marsh. Dunn Marsh is the managing director for Aperture West, arguably the most influential and notable magazine for photography in the nation. It was Michelle Dunn Marsh's task to accept and review great examples of photographic art and decide which would be chosen for the touring showcase and which few would receive special recognition and the coveted Juror's Choice Award.

This year among 276 photographs submitted from 81 photographers, Joel Bennett's "Kaktovik Whaling Tool Sharpeners" was bestowed with the highest honor. His photograph is truly awe-inspiring in its fascinating texture and color. When I saw the photo, I thought I was looking at a painting. The piece is certainly unique and surprisingly intriguing.

Several other pieces inspire the powerful exhibit. I am no art critic; just an admirer of passion. Some of my personal favorites include Kevin Harding's "Two Rocks and Waves" from Soldotna, George Provost's "McHugh Creek #7" from Anchorage, and John Hyde's "Storm Brewing" from Juneau.

The Alaska Positive exhibit will be available for public viewing at Ketchikan's Tongass Historical Museum through Sunday, February 13th. A special slide-show called Ketchikan Positive will be presented tonight, February 10th at 7pm at the Tongass Historical Museum. The Ketchikan Positive digital slide-show will provide an opportunity to see Ketchikan through the eyes of local photographers and will guide your eyes through views both familiar and never before seen. Light refreshments will be served.

Take time to enjoy some great art from our Alaska neighbors and our local photographers.


Joseph Branco is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Joseph Branco at branco(AT)

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