A select group of 12 LaGuardia Community College Commercial Photography majors spent a month this past summer exploring, studying, and photographing Alaska. The group was led by two LaGuardia Commercial Photography faculty members, Scott Sternbach and Lidiya Kan.
While in Alaska, the students studied and explored the environment, with an emphasis on learning about how the community is effected by climate change, pollution, concerns about encroachment, and the divisive search for fossil fuels. The Prince William Sound Science Center provided the students with field biologists as guides and support coordinated by Dr. Kristen Gorman while in Cordova, Alaska.
The group spent time with indigenous people, through which they experienced local culture and gained understanding of the natives’ relationships with their natural surroundings. Highlights included several days spent in the fishing village of Cordova, hiking glaciers, swimming in icy cold glacial lakes, meeting a friendly otter, visiting with members of the Russian Old Believers community, and participating in a sacred biennial celebration of the Arctic way of life at the Gwich'in Gathering in Vashraii K'oo - Arctic Village. The entirety of this unique trip was documented by each student through photography and video.
The trip was the experience of a lifetime for many of the students. For example, for one young student the trip marked her first-ever plane trip, a deaf student who learned how much he can accomplish despite being hearing impaired, a self-defined City girl who had never camped but by the end of the trip found herself enjoying roasted ground squirrel, and a 71-year-old retired registered nurse who represented the oldest member of the trip.
68° North: a Visual Journey Through the Alaskan Wilderness
was made possible with generous support from Chris and Zoe Craymer.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALLISON MINTO
July 3- 4
LaGuardia students and faculty arrived in Cordova and took part in a town-wide celebration.
Prince William Sound Science Center
July 5- 8
The LaGuardia group joined researchers of the Prince William Sound Science Center on an in-depth exploration of the local environment.
Researchers Dr. Kristen Gorman and Josh Williams took LaGuardia students on hiking and nature trips. Read more
LaGuardia students presented photos and videos at The Cordova Center.
July 10- 12
The LaGuardia group camped for three days at Childs Glacier.
Travel by ferry, bus, and plane… and another plane
July 13- 14
The LaGuardia group traveled to the Arctic Village:
Cordova to Whittier by Ferry
Whittier to Anchorage by Bus
Anchorage to Fairbanks by Plane
Fairbanks to Arctic Village by Plane
ARCTIC VILLAGE, ALASKA
July 14- 31
The LaGuardia group experienced living in the Arctic Village by helping locals prepare for Gwich'in Gathering, exploring the village, and meeting the locals.
July 21- 24
The LaGuardia group camped in the mountains for three nights, with some students going on hunting expeditions.
July 26- 28
The LaGuardia group celebrated three days of the Gwich'in Gathering.
NEW YORK CITY
July 29- 30
The LaGuardia Group traveled back home to New York City.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GABRIEL PONTE-FLEARY
ABOUT OUR PATRONS
"It gives us a tremendous amount of pleasure to help talented dedicated students navigate their journey into in our wonderful and magical industry. We love being involved with the local community in this way and know that our efforts are positively impacting the lives of the students." Chris and Zoe Craymer
"Thank you so much for providing this once in a lifetime experience. I could have never imagined planning a trip like this on my own."
"This trip would not have been possible without Chris and Zoe Craymer’s support of LaGuardia. Please share my deepest sincere thanks to both of them."
"I am so grateful to Chris and Zoe Craymer for caring about the future of people like me. They so willingly gave us such a beautiful life altering experience."
"I want to express my most sincere gratitude for your generous contribution to make our trip to Alaska possible. Without your help, this couldn’t be possible and we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to enjoy this life-changing adventure. This trip has touched me and impacted my life."
"Saying ‘thank you’ to Chris and Zoe Craymer seems like a very insufficient way to express my appreciation of their generosity. Their philanthropy has given each of the participating student the opportunity to grow as a person and as photographer."
"I look forward to sharing my work with you and the LaGuardia community. Thank you again for your support."
"I want to express my appreciation and gratitude for the life changing experience that you have provided to me and my fellow photography students. It was with your help that we are able to move forward in our goals in education and life. I can’t wait to share all the amazing work all of us did in Alaska."
"As a photographer and artist, I feel this experience confirmed what I love in life. I'm interested in the world and our interaction with it. I want to capture its beauty through my lens in the most artistic way possible. Thank you once more for believing in us."
"I would like to express my most sincere thanks to you both for giving me the most amazing experience I could have ever wished for. Being part of this trip has impacted me positively, and I look forward to sharing my work with you. Thank you again for your support that has made this trip possible and for supporting my goals as an aspiring photographer."
"The time I spent with my peers in Alaska has thus far in my life been unmatched by any other traveling experience yet. The people I met, the things I learned and experienced, and the natural beauty I was given the opportunity to capture, has left me with memories I hope to never forget. I cannot express enough gratitude and appreciation for such a truly amazing, life changing, and unforgettable experience. I’m looking forward to sharing stories and my work with you."
"Thank you so much for funding our study away program and making this experience possible. I expected this trip to be a way for me to improve my people skills and physical abilities while viewing amazing scenery, but it was so much more. It’s an experience I will remember for a lifetime."
"I’d like to sincerely express my deepest appreciation for providing us the privilege to explore Alaska as we did. This truly was a life-changing experience for all of us. Thank you very much for your generous support and belief in our abilities as student photographers; it means a great deal that you gave the photography department a chance to step well beyond the borders of our campus."