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New exhibit at City Museum opens Friday, Feb. 7: The Light That Got Lost

February 5, 2020 – News

Juneau photographer, Ben Huff, is the featured solo artist at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum for the month of February. The Light That Got Losta collection of photographs from Huff’s time spent on the Juneau Icefield and surrounding glaciers, opens with a public reception on Friday, February 7 from 4:30-7:00 p.m. On Saturday, February 8, Huff will discuss his show during Coffee & Collections from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Both of these free events will take place at the City Museum.

Ben Huff is a Juneau based photographer, artist, bookmaker and the founder/editor of Ice Fog Press. Several years ago, shortly after moving to Juneau from the Interior, Huff began photographing the retreating Mendenhall Glacier and found himself struggling with the changing landscape.

“I tried to illustrate the gulf I felt between the joy of seeing that glacier for the first time, and the sense of mourning I felt with each subsequent trip,” says Huff.

For two years Huff photographed the Mendenhall glacier, focusing on capturing the textures left by the retreating ice but ultimately he was dissatisfied with this concept.

“I was interested in proportion and loss, and turned my back on the glacier – instead, making pictures of the scratches, scrapes, and debris left by the ice’s retreat. I was consumed with the question of how to make a portrait of something by showing its path instead of its presence. The work, called Absence, ultimately didn’t work. The pictures folded under the weight of the idea,” explains Huff.

 Huff took a break from photographing the Mendenhall Glacier but found himself drawn back to the ice three years later, this time with the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP).

“I was looking for a reentry to that glorious landscape in peril – a different door into the visual conversation I still desired. What I found there was not the despair I still feel when I stand at the terminus of the mighty Mendenhall. Through the students of the program, I have found a degree of hope”.

Huff’s newfound sense of hope is expressed in The Light that Got Lost. This exhibit is a collection of large format black and white portraits of JIRP students, interspersed with color aerial photographs of the ice field, camps used by JIRP, and images from the terminus of the Mendenhall and Herbert Glaciers.