Photography exhibition shows off Alaskan talent

Rarefied Light, an annual traveling photo exhibition displaying work from Alaskan photographers, is currently being held at Kenai Peninsula College’s Gary L. Freeburg Gallery.

Sponsored by the Alaska Photographic Center, Rarefied Light is a jury-selected competition showing 55 pieces of work chosen from 500 submitted fine-art photographs from all corners of the state.

The Kenai exhibition opened on January 15 and will be on display until March 6.

Cam Choy, associate professor of art at the Kenai Peninsula College, said he was pleased the Rarefied Light exhibit came to the gallery.

“It’s a very prominent exhibit for the gallery,” Choy said. “It’s a show that a lot of people anticipate and really look forward to checking out.”

Choy said that hosting Rarefied Light in winter is ideal.

“There’s so much color in this particular exhibit, so for this time of year it’s perfect,” Choy said.

Alisah Kress, a graduate of KPC, had one of her pieces selected for the exhibition. Kress said that while she was proud that her work, titled “Coming Into Focus” had been recognized, she also enjoys seeing work from other photographers.

“There are some really unique pieces and different takes on how to take (photos),” Kress said. “I like seeing how the other photographers think, because when you take photos you look at it differently, too.”

Another photographer with work on display is local resident Joseph Kashi. He said that save for one year, his work has been selected annually since 2007.

Kashi said that he had anticipated an exhibit similar to previous years, but he was impressed with the diversity on display this time around.

“I was expecting some sameness,” Kashi said. “But it’s a nicely balanced show.”

Kashi said that he was also impressed with the level of skill photographers on the Kenai Peninsula possess.

“The Central Peninsula has a really strong photography presence, which is a really good thing,” Kashi said. “It’s probably one of the stronger ones I’ve seen for an area of its size, in a while.”

This year’s Best of Show winner was a canvas-printed piece titled “Sadie,” taken by Homer photographer Linda Smogor.

The juror for this year’s Rarefied Light is renowned photographer Joyce Tenneson, who has had her work published in magazines including Time, Life, Newsweek and Esquire. In a written statement, Tenneson praised the skill of Alaskan photographers.

“Alaska is not just rich in natural beauty, it is rich in photographers who are passionate about their craft,” Tenneson wrote.

Reach Ian Foley at

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