A few months ago, Kat Haber offered me the opportunity to create a community art project for TEDX Homer, based on TED Prize-winner JR’s global Inside Out Project. As a community-based artist working in a variety of media, I jumped at the chance, and chose to focus on the people who make their livelihoods in the fishing industry in Homer.

I was excited by the chance to meet many people in the fishing industry and to learn more about the challenging local fishing issues at a crucial time.

I spent a few days this August in the harbor, photographing skippers and deckhands – both commercial and sport –  as well as fish packers, boat washers and a variety of other industry workers.  Whoever was available at the time, given that it was the height of the fishing season. While by no means exhaustive, these random faces are intended as a microcosmic representation of the larger local population of fishermen and women, and those who support them. The goal is both to celebrate the people who make the fishing industry here so vital and perhaps, by showing these faces side by side, to suggest that we are all in the same boat, so to speak, and thereby spark a collaborative dialogue about South Central Alaskan fishing rights and responsibilities.

The photos have been turned into 4’ x 3’ black and white posters through a generous donation from the INSIDE OUT PROJECT as we are the only location in Alaska participating.  Additional enthusiastic support came from the Bunnell Street Arts Center and NPFA. Supplies and exhibition spaces have been graciously donated by local businesses. Without these sponsors and supporters, the project would never have happened and special thanks go to all of them!!!!!!!

The photos have been posted in 14 locations around town and will remain in place for 1-3 weeks, depending upon the location and the weather. A list of locations is available at Bunnell Street Arts Center. Make a point of passing by to see the portraits and feel free to leave a comment here!

This is just the beginning. It my hope that this project will inspire you to continue this conversation through the end of the year or to create your own large-scale photo portrait exhibits celebrating others in this community. You can learn more about how to do this by visiting www.insideproject.net .

On behalf of the sponsors of FACES OF FISHING and myself, I thank you for your support. I hope “FACES OF FISHING” reminds us of what makes Homer so special.

Lauryn Axelrod, photographer, FACES OF FISHING