"Innocent Eye": Adrina Knutson's work lives on

Julie Herrmann/Sun Star Reporter
Sept. 24, 2013

Late UAF film student Adrina Knutson poses with Tanazanian girls working on her documentary before passing away in a car crash in late summer of 2012. Photo courtesy of Leonard Kamerling, curator of film the Museum of the North.

A photography exhibit showcasing the work of former UAF film student Adrina Knutson opened on Monday.  Knutson took both video and still photography while she was in Tanzania in the summer of 2012.  She was part of a team making a movie about a Maasai boy’s journey to adulthood, before she died in a car accident while in Tanzania.

Leonard Kamerling, the curator of film at the Museum of the North who was also on the film team in Tanzania, applied for a grant from the UAF People’s Endowment to fund an exhibit of Knutson’s photography.

“This work should be shown and celebrated, not just to honor her, but because it’s extraordinary work that people could learn from,” Kamerling said, “Her work was so extraordinary, and she had such an amazing eye.”

Most of the 33 photos in the exhibit are of people.  Some are posed while others are of events or of people doing day-to-day things.  About half the photos were taken with a still camera by Knutson.  The other half are stills taken from the video footage Knutson shot.

“What’s most special about them is that she had an ability to cut through the exoticness of what’s there,” Kamerling said. “Most people would see the exotic surface, the differences, but she was really able to connect with the human element and the humanness of people.”

The exhibit opened on Monday with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.  The exhibit will remain open through Saturday, Sept. 28.  After that, the exhibit will be shown in Knutson’s hometown of Kenny Lake, Alaska.

“It’s work like people have probably never seen before,” Kamerling said, “Each photograph is like a little magic door that opens up so much more behind it.”

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