Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

Tough assignment

A bald eagle near Unalaska, in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.

In 2005 the World Council of Churches asked me to photograph two church-related themes in the U.S. as part of a global look at faith expressions called "Keeping the Faith", which produced a coffee-table book and a website. I ended up documenting the Church of Mary Magdalene–a congregation of homeless women in Seattle–and the blessing of the crab fleet in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. I spent a week in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, photographing crab fishers and boats (and running into the crew shooting "Deadliest Catch"), documenting the life of two Christian churches in the community, and photographing the blessing of the crab fleet, where local clergy go out on a boat at the beginning of the season to pray for those who work the catch. You can see some of that–both images and audio, so turn on your speakers–at the Keeping the Faith website. It was a complicated gig, particularly accessing the Russian Orthodox community, whose most elder members are still angry at the Methodists for literally kidnapping indigenous children and placing them in orphanages decades ago. But the assignment also provided some time to photograph bald eagles. Scrambling around on the hills south of Unalaska, I could easily photograph these magnificant birds. It was a great assignment!

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