Image from Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer

Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer

Thursday, February 16, 2023 at 6:00 pmYukon Theatre

Carol Geddes’ documentary about trail-blazing Tlingit photographer and hunter, George Johnston, is itself a vanguard in Yukon history given that it’s the first major film production that tells a story of the Yukon written, directed and produced by a Yukon filmmaker. Join ALFF for a special screening in celebration of the 25th anniversary of this powerful film!

This unique portrait of Kaash KlaÕ (George Johnston), a photographer who was a creator of portraits and a keeper of his culture, is a told from the perspective of a filmmaker who is of the same people; the Teslin Tlingit, Deisleen Kwáan, who live on the lands surrounding Teslin Lake. A trapper, fur trader, entrepreneur and photographer, Johnston cared deeply about the traditions of the Tlingit people, and he recorded a critical period in the history of the Tlingit Nation. In 1920, Johnston did something that was quite extraordinary for someone who lived as remotely as he did at that time: after ordering a camera from a mail-order catalogue, he taught himself to use it and to develop and print his own photographs. The images he recorded—of special moments and everyday occasions—became a beacon to the young and a testament to the golden times of the Tlingit people. Johnston's photos lovingly portray a sense of history and a zest for life. His work as a photographer in the period from 1920 to 1945 has long been recognized in the Indigenous community, predating a generation of Indigenous and Inuit photographers. As Geddes says, his legacy was "to help us dream the future as much as to remember the past."

Director in attendance for post-screening Q&A.

Youth under 16 can attend for free! Please book a complimentary ticket via the festival ticketing site.


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