Jen Kinney Captures the Isolated Lives of Whittier Residents

 - Jul 11, 2014
References: jakinney & itsnicethat
Photographer Jen Kinney is currently living and working in Whittier, Alaska. Never heard of it? You're not alone. The town is situated deep in the heart of the polar state; so deep, in fact, that it's only accessible via a 2.6-mile long tunnel which runs through an adjoining mountain. And forget travelling after nightfall, because the tunnel has a curfew. The incredibly isolated town is home to 200 residents, most of whom live stacked atop one another in a 14-storey condominium.

Kinney seeks to represent the lives of the secluded residents as accurately as possible through her photography. Of her experience in Whittier, she says, "It is a vertical town, with walls so thin the missionary can listen in on the bartender next door. Those who don’t live in the tower -— in winter, fewer than 40 —- live in another condominium just above the railroad tracks, in their boats or trailers, or in hotel rooms in the Anchor Inn."

Kinney's images reflect a certain closeness that the residents have achieved, simply by living in such close physical proximity to one another. It's clear that the townspeople have forged intimate, affection bonds to counteract their segregation from the rest of the world.