Charles A. Hartman Fine Art is excited to present Graveyard Point, the latest body of work by Portland-based photographer Corey Arnold. Collecting images made over the past four years, Graveyard Pointdocuments the diverse community that comes together to fish for Sockeye salmon each summer in Bristol Bay, Alaska. While Arnold's earlier series, Fish-Work: The Bering Sea depicted the brutal and dangerous work of commercial crab fishing, this series trades cold, rough seas for the place where land and ocean meet and where rivers spill into the sea. The thread that moves through all of Arnold's work is a deep appreciation for a way of life and a vocation that is rarely viewed. A majestic essentialism imbues these striking color photographs with a drama that feels simultaneously baroque and contemporary. Of this body of work, Arnold writes:
Deep in Southwest Alaska, surrounded by mosquito and grizzly bear infested tundra, lies an abandoned salmon cannery known locally as Graveyard Point. The cannery sits at the mouth of the Kvichak River, one of the five rivers that empty into Bristol Bay, home to North America’s Last Great Sockeye salmon run.
Every year during the months of June and July, about 130 commercial fishermen from around the U.S. converge there and set up seasonal fishing residences in broken down dormitories and dilapidated shacks that have sat empty for decades. The fishermen are Christians, Mormons, Atheists and Neo-Luddites; ex-convicts and construction workers; dog mushers, trappers and suburbanites; city slickers and Native Americans. Most days there is camaraderie among the disparate squatter groups, but periods of insomnia driven mania have occasionally stirred up conflict among rival fishing families.
Graveyard Point teeters on the edge of a sandy bluff overlooking a vast delta of extremes. The fishing work happens at a furious pace when tens of millions of Sockeye seemingly arrive at the same moment every year. Nets are rapidly sunk by the masses of fish as extreme tides tear through canyons of undersea mud. Men and woman work 20 hours a day in small open boats no matter the weather or time of day. In the end, great fortunes can be earned or lost, depending on the fisherman’s skill or luck and the avoidance of injury.
Corey Arnold is a photographer and Alaskan commercial fisherman. A graduate of the Academy of Art in San Francisco, Arnold lives and works in Portland, Oregon the nine months of the year that he is not fishing. His work has been exhibited in Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York as well as numerous other venues worldwide. His pictures have been featured in a number of publications including The Paris Review, Esquire, Artweek, American Photo, Juxtapoz, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, and Outside. Corey Arnold's first monograph, Fish-Work: The Bering Sea, was published in 2011 by Nazraeli Press in association with Charles A. Hartman Fine Art.