Monday, June 12, 2006

The Set Up

Hello everybody.

So if you're reading this, you probably know whats going on. Having recently graduated from Pomona College, I received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which provides me the funding to travel outside of the USA for one full year. Read:

Basically this institution gives graduated undergraduates the chance to pursue a personal project totally independently, with minimal guidelines and some very basic requirements, like...stay out of the USA for a full year, let us know where you are, and attend a conference when you get back (there's 50 fellows this year, we all meet when we get back).

My project is based in a photographic documentation of cultural variety and community organization in the Arctic. I will be spending three months each in northern Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia, living in some of the most northern communities in the world. In the official parlance, as seen in the Watson records:

Laurel McFadden, Pomona College
Life in the Midnight Sun and Polar Night: Images of Arctic Survival
Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia
My project involves a photographic examination of social and personal strength in a variety of cultures coping with the extremes of the Arctic. Through photographic imagery, I will document patterns of communication, tradition, emotion, and social interaction as I participate in each community living through a stage of the Arctic seasons. The project will entail capturing and effectively sharing the experience of living in the Arctic, displaying not only my personal experiences but also the social patterns of communities working successfully in climatic extremes.

So! I have to be gone (out of the USA) by August 1st, 2006. Right now I'm getting ready, from planning where exactly I will be living, to trying to find side jobs (I can't do photography ALL the time), to figuring out transportation, to figuring out how my new fancy camera works. And trying to learn Russian.

I know lots of you are curious about my preparations and this trip in general, and I also know I won't be able to keep in touch personally with all of you - I really have no idea how much access I'll have to mail, phones, or internet, but I'll keep this updated as often as possible. Hopefully this site will give you an idea of where I am, what I'm up to, and, most importantly, show you some fantastic photos and give you some interesting stories.



sam said...

Russian is way fun, even if you don't know it that well. In fact, all I can say are "hi", "thank you", and "cheers", but I can sound words out slowly and painfully--it's surprising how many of them are guess-able if you can just sound them out. Also, people who actually speak russian sound way cool when they speak it. And I'm sure they appreciate even the most amateur sounding-out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Laurel,
I'll be checking the blog constantly! Great idea.
Prof. K