Mark Mahaney explores the two-month-long night of the northernmost American town.
“When midnight sun is replaced by polar night, everything’s different. Eyes to the horizon and there’s nothing. And then more nothing, in every direction. Just waiting for the sun to rise above it, so time can exist again.” Looking at photographs of Utqiagvik's long polar night in Alaska is walking into a haunting, suspended dream. A layer of ice swallows cars, dogs, streets, houses’ façades. Dry snow shrieks under the footsteps, even the sky is frozen.
In his book “Polar Night” Mark Mahaney describes the experience as physically numbing, mentally disorienting, leading to depression and a high rate of suicide in the local population. Without traditionally illustrating any specific theme the photographs are able to convey the dangerous beauty of a place aggressively hostile to human life.