• Feature

What Marine Mammals Look Like From Above

Between Sea and Sky

Aug 19, 2020
by Eldred Allen and Robert Kautuk


With strikingly similar images and aesthetic impulses, we asked what Robert Kautuk, from Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), NU, and Eldred Allen, from Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, NL, thought of each other’s photographs in this five-part series. 

AllenEldredSkullOfHarpSealEldred Allen Skull of Harp Seals (2018) Inkjet print COURTESY THE ARTIST

This portrait of a gang of seals, sunbathing, is a good shot and must have taken some patience to capture. The spacing between the harp seals is so regular that it looks designed. It must have been a good feeling to photograph this one—when you just know that you are taking a good photo. Aerial photography gives you a different perspective on the environment and your community. You can be as high as the legal limit, and it changes the view to like a bird’s-eye view. When I got my drone, I was excited about seeing new angles like these. 

— Robert Kautuk 

KautukRobertAfterCuttingUpTwoWalrusesIglulikRobert Kautuk After Cutting Up Two Walruses, Iglulik (2016) Digital photograph COURTESY THE ARTIST

You can tell the figures captured in this photo are using all of the animal they have harvested; as witnessed by the skeleton at the bottom left in the water, nothing goes to waste. The white icepan against the dark ocean is very striking and creating its own image. For me, the icepan beneath the water to the right looks like the head of a polar bear with its mouth open. Seeing everyone looking up at the drone makes me think of how this new technology is being used to give a new vantage point to a traditional lifestyle. 

— Eldred Allen 


This Feature was originally published in the Summer 2020 Issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly.


Read the rest of the series: 

How a River Forms from a Drone’s Point of View