Thirty years ago (1981), I was a professional photographer in Alaska. Has it really been that long?
This self-portrait was made for a series of magazine ads to plug my services as a pro in 1981. I remember being startled that it worked, and started getting calls for assignments. I wanted to project an air of friendly competence in my studio with this photo.
Big Glasses & Mustache Trivia
Looking at this now, I had to laugh at the big glasses of the day. I was 26 and was in my second year of shooting professionally. I was gratified to see that my mustache still looks about the same. Well, mostly-- it's a bit more grizzled now, but what the heck, right? When I first grew my mustache, one of the grandmothers said that if you grow a mustache, it's a lifelong commitment, so you'd better be sure about it. I took it to heart and have had it since then and the last time I didn't have a mustache was when I was 22. Mustache trivia.
Other Stuff in 1981
As for other stuff that was going on in 1981, the computer of the day was the Apple III, which was going for $7,800.00; which roughly equates to $19,000.00 in 2011 dollars (using a Consumer Price Index inflation calculator). All I remember is that computers were these cool new machines that were way out of my price range. It costed more than a new car.
Speaking of cars, the bestselling model was the Ford Escort, which was kind of an upgraded Ford Pinto. Gas was getting expensive and people were more sensitive to getting good gas mileage than now.
The Print Give-Away!
Here is the nitty gritty of this blog entry. In celebration of this 30th year of promoting my photography I am giving away a photograph that was made in 1981 from my "Yupik Basket Weaver" series. I traveled around Western Alaska for a few months photographing women gathering the materials and coiling their salt water grass baskets in Yupik country.
It is titled, "Mrs. Kanrilak" and was made at Tununak as part of the series. It was late fall, just before the first snows and the women were out in the fields collecting the salt water grass that they used to coil their beautiful baskets. Mrs. Kanrilak was wearing a beautiful Kuspuk that was fur lined and had a fabric shell. It was below freezing, but she had to use her bare hands to pick the blades of grass, one by one, which was the way to get the best grass. It was so cold that my camera batteries froze and I had to use external battery packs.
I was staying at friend's house and the people were very gracious and hospitable. While walking around the village, people would see me as a stranger and invite me in for tea, just to chat. One of the elder gentleman insisted that my name should be McNeiluk, so that's how I took to introducing myself and it made them laugh. It was a great experience and I made a lot of wonderful photographs on that journey.
Facebook & Twitter
Over the past couple years I kind of slacked off with the social networking stuff. Most of my friends have hundreds of Twitter followers. As of today, I have ten. Ha ha! Oops. At any rate:
Everyone who is a McNeil Tweet follower will be automatically entered in a random drawing. There is a "Follow Me" Tweet link on the far left of this page that you can click to add your name.
This will be promoted via the Facebook Events function and this blog entry.
It will run from 12:01am February 24th to Noon on March 4th.
The print sells for over a million dollars at the gallery that represents me in Santa Fe. Ok, well maybe a bit less. Don't tell him about this, by the way, it's between you and I. Good luck!
Another link to McNeil's Twitter "Follow Me."
Facebook Events Page for Give-Away