Brother Knows in
photographs and text by
My younger brother Jason and I were both originally from Alaska. When
I was five years old and he was two, my Mom loaded us up into our 1965
International pickup camper "Bumpin' George" along with three
standard poodles (Beau, Tilly and Fancy) and two guinea pigs (Ichi and
Blossom), and we began the 3,700 mile journey down the treacherous Al-Can
highway to our new home in Southern California.
Jason was only two at the time, but his gregarious nature was already
clear. It seemed he could almost instantly befriend anyone – from
rebellious, punked-out hipsters to soccer moms to conservative business
types. When it came time to sell candy for school fund-raising activities
– I would always hand over my goods to Jason. He was good at selling
and far more outgoing than I was, and after about an hour he'd return
home with an empty box, the cash envelope full, and stories of a bunch
of new friends he'd made.
In 1999, Jason returned to Alaska – settling in the small town of
Girdwood. As one might expect, he quickly wove himself into the web of
the local culture, building a network of friends that spanned the entire
gamut of Girdwood's tiny society.
They say people live in Alaska for a variety of reasons – maybe
they were raised there and they choose to stay close to home, maybe they
go there to get closer to nature, perhaps they move there in an attempt
to get off the grid, seeking refuge from some aspect of more mainstream
society. Whatever their motivations, these people form a unique tribe
– one with a quirky combination of self-imposed semi-isolation and
In July 2008, I had the good fortune to spend a couple of weeks among
these wonderful and interesting people. From my temporary quarters in
the back of Chair 5, and on the back patio of the Silvertip, and in a
few other makeshift studio locations around town – here is a selection
from the series Everyone my Brother Knows in Girdwood, Alaska.