Aleutian Dreams: Corey Arnold’s Latest Body of Work Takes Our Breath Away

Corey Arnold’s latest body of work, Aleutian Dreams, which follows his time in Alaska working on a crab boat, is a continuation of his work examining man’s relationship with the wilderness that surrounds him. The honesty and reverence with which he documents nature at its most wild makes his photos as politically compelling as they are visually arresting, especially in light of the many environmental issues we are currently facing. Aleutian Dreams opens April 1st at Richard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica, with an opening reception from 3-5 PM the same day.

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Since 2002, Arnold has worked as a crab fisherman on the Bering Sea and spent his summers captaining a salmon fishing boat in Alaska, documenting his life at sea with a quiet curiosity and a razor-sharp eye for detail. The moments he captures are poignant and visceral vignettes of nature at its most powerful, from surging stormy seas to a curious fox making eye contact during a snowfall.

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“Fifteen years ago, I wrote a job-wanted sign and hung it outside of a bathroom near Seattle’s Fisherman’s Terminal. It read: ‘Experienced deckhand looking for work on a commercial crab or halibut fishing boat in Alaska — hard worker — does not get seasick.’ I was 24-years old, energetic and ambitious, with a few years of salmon fishing experience (but naive to the world of high seas fish-work). After a few shifty respondents, I was hired by a seasoned Norwegian fisherman and flew on a small prop plane, past the icy volcanoes and windswept passes of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, eventually slamming down onto the short runway in Dutch Harbor. The experience would forever change the direction of my life and shape my identity as both a fisherman and photographer.”

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His photos document the harsh beauty of a life fully immersed in wilderness, a life most of us will never experience, and the way he approaches the tender innocence and terrifying power of the natural world feels like an electric shock to the spirit, leaving us with eyes wide open. Immerse yourself in his work below.

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