AK Wild Woman: Camrin Dengel (Photographer)

March 24, 2015

We have been in awe of a certain Alaskan-grown lady's photographs the past few years. We met Camrin Dengel, as it seems we meet many strong and inspiring women, on Alaska's nordic ski trails when we were all in high school. Camrin has taken some of our favorite photos for Salmon Sisters and we love the way she captures the small and slow moments of life, the beauty of fishing, and the goodness of the world. Camrin tells us more about her work and speaks eloquently about how she has found herself involved in fishing and photography, below.

 
I wasn’t raised in a fishing family. Although, having grown up in Valdez, I was around fish, boats and ocean culture often. We ate salmon and halibut regularly, but harvesting fish wasn’t a core part of my family’s lifestyle, still adventure and a life outdoors certainly was.
I left Alaska for college to become an environmental engineer, to do something substantial, have an impact on the earth and influence the way we as humans interact with our environment.
After my sophomore year I spent the summer working for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. I did research on ways to green the fishing industry; fishing vessel alternative energy — bio diesel, wind power, bulbous bows. I traveled to Alaska’s small fishing towns and villages and for the first time was completely submerged in fishing culture. I ate on boats. I slept on boats. I interviewed fishermen and boat captains. I saw the insides of canneries and the rugged shores of the Alaskan coast.
I documented my journey with writings and photographs.
And that was the beginning of my journey as a photographer and as a storyteller.
Two years later, I left school as an artist.
It took me a long time to call myself an artist, to feel that being a photographer had value and could make a positive impact on the planet and that it was just as valid as building a boat engine that ran on veggie oil. — Though I still think that’s super cool, it just wasn’t the path for me.
I found myself in Teton Valley, Idaho where I met an amazing man that is 100% fisherman — though not the commercial kind. He taught me to fly fish. I watched him cast and tie flies, handle fish and treat them like wild treasures. We catch a lot of trout and the slime against my palms reminds me of the wild salmon back home. We fish rivers and streams and the pace is slow — until you feel a tug at the end of your line.
I love fish and cherish their part in my life, whether I’m admiring the spots of brook trout on the river or enjoying the red tasty meat of a sockeye salmon on my dinner plate.
As a photographer and a storyteller, I aim to inspire people to live a slow and connected life, one that is full of raw, organic beauty.
Though, life on an Alaskan fishing boat is fast paced, the complete process is slow. The harvest can be pure, human powered, and the product of sweat and strong bodies. Salmon lives are slow and wild, and part of a big picture.
Live slow. Stay wild.
I strive for a sense of “nostalgia in the now” within my images. I photograph a life that is close to the earth; adventures in the mountains, beets grown in the garden and connection with the world around us. I seek out brands with sustainability missions and environmental values. And I love collaborating with growing artisans and hand crafted businesses.
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Rock Creek, MT
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Hops farmer, Missoula, MT


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