Acacia Johnson

Under The Same Stars
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Nationality: USA
Biography: Acacia Johnson is a photographer and writer from Alaska, focused on human relationships to wilderness. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Acacia received a Fulbright grant to Canada in 2014, to overwinter on Baffin Island . Since... read on
Public Story
Under The Same Stars
Credits: acacia johnson
Date of Work: 11/01/14 - 03/01/15
Updated: 04/21/17

Winter in the Arctic - vibrant, pulsing. The throb of club music pours from the community hall, streets alive with the roar of skidoos and the cries of dog teams. Faces illuminated by the eerie glow of iPad screens in this polar night, the ding of text messages, the glow of the moon, the buzz of televisions and sewing machines and the silent stillness of hunters waiting, waiting. Feasts of walrus, seal and Coca-Cola; everyone talking about the land, returning to the land. Dancing, praying, hunting, sewing, playing games, telling stories, passing time. Waiting for spring, for the return of life - yet everything continues, even in darkness.

The north of Baffin Island, in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, is one of the coldest inhabited regions on earth. For nearly 5,000 years, the Inuit people have lived a nomadic lifestyle in this landscape, subsisting off of the land and the sea until the 1950s. Communities today navigate dramatic shifts between the lifestyles and values of elders raised in a traditional hunting society, and the young generations growing up with modern influences, cable TV and satellite Internet. 

Photographed over four months in the community of Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay), Nunavut, Under the Same Stars celebrates the vibrancy of life during the dark months of winter. 

This project was funded in part by a grant from Fulbright Canada, the Fulbright Canada-RBC Eco-Leadership Program, and the 83 backers of a Kickstarter campaign in summer 2014.

Special thanks to the following project backers:

Gold Level Sponsors: Hiro Nagaoka, Davis Peterson MD, Kirk & Leslie Johnson

Silver Level Sponsors: Nic Sedenquist, James Gosling, Alex McNeil, Becky Nourse, Margaret Gingerich, Diane McBride, Bob Barrett, David Or, Eirik Schwenke, Devon Wemyss, Robert Sharpe, Rande Lucas, Linda Vollertsen, Kelvie Johnson, Catherine Ann Sage

Bronze Level Sponsors: Pat Murphy, Pat Connor & Irmtraud Wiegel, Nina Bonito Romine, Eva Sutton, Josh Loeser, William P. Flatt, Amy Meissner, Rob Eastick, Kyle McClenahan, Billy & Julie Martin, Andy Moerlein & Donna Dodson, Eva Forsgren, Susan Schapira, Gina Hollomon

My deepest gratitude goes out to the people of Arctic Bay for welcoming me with such warmth and openness into their lives, and for making this project possible. Special thanks to Sheba Ejangiaq, Joseph Kigutaq, Clare Kines, the Tatatoapik family, Darcy & Susan Enoogoo, and countless others. In fond memory of Peugatuk Ettuk.

Finally, my thanks to the RISD photo department, April Hickox, Simon Glass, and Dorothy Bocian.

Also by Acacia Johnson —


Quarantine Diary

By Acacia Johnson — This is an ongoing collection of images from an undetermined period of self-isolation near Gothenburg,..

Deception Island

By Acacia Johnson / Deception Island, Antarctica — Deception Island, an active volcanic caldera in Antarctica's South Shetland Islands, is home to..

Sea Ice Stories

By Acacia Johnson / Arctic Bay, Nunavut — In the spring, when animals migrate north and the sun never sets, Inuit children join their families on..

Alaskan Brown Bears At Risk

By Acacia Johnson / Alaska — The Alaska Peninsula is home to around 10,000 wild brown bears, which thrive on the region’s pristine..


By Acacia Johnson / Anchorage, Alaska — These images are a meditation on the boreal landscape of Alaska, my childhood home. In the Far North, a..


By Acacia Johnson / Iceland —   Polaris  is an exploration of otherworldly occurrences in the wilderness of Alaska and Iceland...
Join us
for more access