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Creative archives

Deborah Tharp is one of our researchers who has been utilizing photographs in our collection in some creative ways. Below is a composite photograph she created using images from our National Geographic Society Katmai Expeditions photograph collection. The photographs she used can be found on the Alaska Digital Archives, uaa-hmc-0186-volume3-1831 and uaa-hmc-0186-volume4-4560. After looking at the original photographs, it is even more amazing to see how she created one seamless photograph with multiple components! Below the photograph, Deborah Tharp describes how she created the image and what she hoped to communicate with the photograph.Currently the photograph is part of an exhibit called, “50/50 Fifty Alaska Artists Mark Fifty Years of Alaska History,” at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art til the beginning of August. So check it out while you still can! The exhibit will also appear again at the Bear Gallery in Fairbanks around October or November.

Deborah’s description:

deborahtharpphotographAlaska is often referred to as “The Last Frontier.” In this piece I wanted to capture that “frontier spirit” and comment on the vanishing uncharted waters and unexplored landscapes ahead. This piece is a photographic digital composite of four appropriated historical images blended together using Adobe Photoshop CS4.The two images of the men (left and right) are from the APU/UAA Consortium Library Archives and Special Collections and are part of the National Geographic Society Katmai Expedition Photographs.The volcano and sky portion of this piece was appropriated from an older Time Life Book that I found at a thrift store. It is actually Mount Vesuvius erupting in 1944 but creatively reminiscent of our recent disturbances with Alaska’s Mt. Redoubt.The boat and water portion of this image was appropriated from “Alaska,” A Sunset Travel Book and Illustrated Travel Guide of Where to Go, What to Do and What to See in Alaska. I purchased this guide at an antique store while doing the research and working out my ideas for this project.

Deborah Tharp is currently the Head of the Photography Program in the Department of Art at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Deborah also taught photography for five years at Louisiana Tech University before coming to Alaska. She has enjoyed twenty years of teaching students the “Art of Photography.” Her photographic works have been exhibited regionally, nationally and in Canada.

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