Completed in 1911, the Copper River Northwestern Railway allowed Alaska's mining industry to ﬂourish. Copper and gold prospecting townships and camps spread rapidly in the following thirty years.
Far-ﬂung glacier-side bunkhouses and angling stations dotted the wild landscape, with workers coming from all around the world to seek their fortune. The sudden closing of the Kennecott copper mine in 1938 left many of these industrial and residential structures abandoned. Leaving with only what they could carry, the miners left plates on tables and sheets on beds.
Preserved by their remoteness and Alaska’s harsh freezing temperatures, the sites retain many of these precious artifacts. Most still lie where they were left, almost a century ago.
Photographer Paul Scannell has spent years hiking to the region’s precariously perched mountain-top copper mines and remote gold mining sites with the aim of capturing America’s slowly disappearing frontier history.
His fascination with dereliction and its haunting beauty grows with each new adventure. Observing nature reclaim its territory, for him, holds irresistible drama. This book maps a personal journey, driven by loss and defined by discovery and healing. It is a collection of his photographs, travel notes and observations.
||235 x 165 mm
||15 April 2020
||141 colour photographs
Paul Scannell, Dublin-born photographer, left his life in London in the summer of 2016 to explore Alaska's wilderness. Most inspired by moody northern landscapes and derelict residential and industrial sites, his travels led him to the Wrangell St Elias National Park, America's largest. He achieved placement on a season-long artist's residency and explored a landscape rich in untouched human history. His work seeks to observe the indelible mark of human habitation. He has exhibited in both London and Dublin and, after a successful residency in Northwest Iceland, has recently returned to Alaska to further explore some of America’s most proliﬁc frontier history.