Anchorage photographer shares ‘The Place I Call Home’ in exhibit featured at Anchorage Museum
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Jovell Rennie isn’t new to being a creator. For years, he’s dabbled in various art forms, but now, his photography and glimpse into his life in Anchorage are taking center stage in a recent addition to the Anchorage Museum, titled The Place I Call Home.
“This body of work has been coming together for a few years,” Rennie said, adding: “Most people call me a photographer. I’m still getting used to saying that.
“You never really know what you’re making,” he laughed. “You just kind of get out there and make stuff.”
It’s only afterwards, he said, when you start to put the pieces together and figure out what the story is that you’re trying to tell.
What he’s made is now, though, showing at the Anchorage Museum, a different experience for Rennie, whose work is, for the first time, featured inside the museum’s atrium as part of a series of Anchorage Museum programs under the title, Black Lives in Alaska: Journey, Justice Joy.
A Black man born in Trinidad and raised in Alaska, Rennie came to the state as a young child, he said. His presentation captures a diverse community from his vantage point, and includes images from the perspectives of others, too, in a side collection that is part of the same exhibition.
“The Place I Call Home is my dedication to my hometown,” Rennie explained. “It’s about the places, textures, people, things that I consider my home, which is Alaska, and more specifically, Anchorage. I grew up here, came over here when I was a baby, spent most of my time here, did all my school here. But this is how I see Alaska.
“Curiosity, wanting to make sure I capture the moments that are special to me,” he said of the collection of photos shared in The Place I Call Home. “Wanting to document the minutiae in my everyday life, and some of the bigger moments, too...”
Many of the photographs, but not all, were taken in the Fairview and Downtown areas of Anchorage. Each, however, is from some place Rennie would frequent, he said, with the earliest photos likely from 2015 or so.
However, while the collection on view at the museum includes an array of imagery from across the state, and snapshots of unplanned scenes and moments in time, there was another purpose for Rennie’s work, too: preserving some of the history of his family.
“There’s a large gap in my family’s photographic history,” he said, adding that when his mom passed away, a lot of the photo-taking went on a hiatus. “But a few years ago, I just told myself, like, hey, I want to have photos of my dad to show whoever comes next.”
His dad, whom he calls “The Man,” is now featured in a large portrait that’s part of the exhibit.
While documenting history is a piece of the project, another hope of Rennie’s is that the exhibit transcends borders, inspiring people of all backgrounds and upbringings to share their stories, too.
“My hope is that people take away the fact that they can get out there, they can get images of their community, people in their lives,” Rennie said. “I want people to feel inspired to go and do this for themselves. It doesn’t have to end up in a museum, in a scrapbook, it can be anywhere in between. But just get out.”
The Place I Call Home is on display at the Anchorage Museum through January 15, 2023. More details can be found in a synopsis of The Place I Call Home on the Anchorage Museum website.
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