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Sneak peek: Rarefied Light 2012 opens October's First Friday

Katie Medred
Honorable Mention: "Split" a pigment ink print.
Janice Parsley photo
Honorable Mention: "The West." A digital print captured in Eastern Arizona during a cross-country road trip in January, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Honorable Mention: "Circus Girl (Lawrence-Atwood Far North Big Top Attractions), c.1902," vintage fauxcolloid print.
Hal Gage photo
Honorable Mention: "Regalia" a RA-4 print
Oscar Avellaneda-Cruz photo
Honorable Mention: "Elizabeth" pigment ink print.
Matt Johnson photo
Honorable Mention: "Moving Through" RA-4 print made up of three separate shots. The first two were taken in Homer and the third, in Ninilchik, Alaska.
Laura Avellaneda-Cruz photo
Honorable Mention: "Coney Island Sundays" An unnamed beachcomber treasure hunting at the famous Coney Island. Captured while Alaskan photographer Brian Adams was living in New York.
Brian Adams
Rarefied Light's Best of Show winner: "Taurus." A Polaroid composite image from Skiba's series Amalgamated Family, featuring Skiba's best friend and fellow photographer Janice Parsley.
Maggie Skiba photo

Correction: The original news story below reported incorrectly the name of the museum, which is now the Anchorage Museum, not the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. We regret the error.

In Anchorage, the first Friday of every month marks the opening of several art shows, but perhaps none is more anticipated than Alaska Photographic Center's annual juried exhibition, -- Rarefied Light. It's happening at The Anchorage Museum on Friday, Oct. 5.

This year's juror is self-proclaimed optimist Cig Harvey, a professional photographer from Rockport, Maine, whose work is best known for its modest self-exposure and muted minimalism.

Alaskan photographer and honorable mention recipient Brian Adams was thrilled to learn Harvey would be Rarified Light 2012's invited juror. "Cig has been one of my favorite photographers forever," Adams said. "I've been studying her work for a while."

In 2004, Adams first discovered Harvey's work and noticed an affinity. "I first found her on a stock photo site and she blew me away. She does a lot of self portraits, and works with a lot of the same cameras I appreciate, like the Hasselblad. Her work is extremely conceptual and personal," Adams said. "She may be my favorite judge to ever come up."

Adams and his wife, Ash, both have photos in Friday's show. Ash Adams, who moved from San Francisco to Alaska in 2009, is one of several first-time Rarefied Light photographers debuting at the 2012 show.

As a juror, Harvey selected 61 photos from 641 submissions presented by 109 Alaskan photographers to narrow down this year's selection. Of the 61 photos, she named one winner and six honorable mentions.

2012's Best in Show winner is Maggie Skiba for her submission "Taurus," a Polaroid composite image from her running series, Amalgamated Family.

"Taurus" features Skiba's best friend, fellow Alaskan photographer and one of 2012's honorable mentions, Janice Parsley. Skiba reimaged an original scene depicted in a Polaroid originally taken by Parsley's mother in 1978. She put the Polaroid through an analog process and made a pigment ink print on a cotton rag. Harvey said she chose "Taurus" because it "exemplified the spirit of the award, as both form and content were so beautifully realized."

This is Skiba's second Best in Show award. She was awarded the title first in 2010 for her image "Prodigal Daughter" from the same series.

Six honorable mentions were awarded: Alaska Dispatch's own multimedia editor Loren Holmes for his photo "The West," Brian Adams for "Coney Island Sundays," Oscar Avellaneda Cruz for "Regalia," Hal Gage for "Curious Girl," Matt Johnson for "Elizabeth," Janice Parsley for "Split" and Laura Avellaneda Cruz for "Moving Through."

The show runs through Nov. 25 at the museum before traveling to other venues across the state. After Thanksgiving, viewers can catch Rarefied Light 2012 in:

  • Fairbanks: The Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts, Bear Gallery, Dec. 7-30
  • Kenai/Soldotna: The Kenai Peninsula College, Jan. 11-Feb. 6
  • Kodiak: The Kodiak College Campus Center, Feb. 15-March 8.

For more information about Rarefied Light 2012, visit APC here or the Anchorage Museum here.

Contact Katie Medred at katie@alaskadispatch.com