The Whale Hunt by Jonathan Harris

by Andy Polaine on December 11, 2007

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Whatever your opinion on commercial whaling, substance whaling is a totally different affair. It’s been part of aboriginal Eskimo life for thousands of years and has deep roots in their cultural life, beliefs and survival.

Jonathan Harris, whose work I find consistently beautiful, has created a mesmerising project called The Whale Hunt documenting the ten days he spent with a family of Inupiat Eskimos in Barrow, Alaska, during their annual spring whale hunt.

Taking 3,214 photos, each at five-minute intervals he has created what he calls a “photographic heartbeat” of the experience. During moments of heightened activity, the “heartbeat” would quicken to a maximum of 37 pictures per minute.

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The mass of information and images (almost all of which are, amazingly, beautiful photographs) can be viewed in different ways through different interfaces and constraints, something that characterises Harris’s work.

Be warned, some of the shots are pretty grisly, but you will also see the beauty of the landscape and a sense of the ritual. Visit The Whale Hunt site for the background or dive right in and play.

[tags]jonathanharris, interactivity, interface, visualisation[/tags]

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