The Whale Hunt is a “storytelling experiment,” narrating a native Alaskan hunt for a bowhead whale. The artist, Jonathan Harris, took a photo at least every five minutes (even when he was sleeping by using a timer), and has organized these thousands of photos into a “photographic heartbest.” The more photos he took per minute, the faster his heart is beating.
The art? Perhaps misconceived – I found most of his photos rather boring. Taking a photo every 5 minutes and then posting them all means that there’s a whole lot of photos of empty rooms and lines of snowmobiles.
But the content? Amazing. There’s a pruned down highlights section, but I don’t think it gets to the heart of what was cool about these photos – the actual process of butchering a 36 foot whale. Harris has photographed seas of blood, yards of intestine, and enough meat and blubber to feed a village. And that is right, because that is exactly what this whale is going to do. The photos really communicate the whale-as-valuable-resource. By the time the hunting group was done, the only bit of whale left was the jawbone and the bloodstained ice.