Scene from Eagle

On my way into Glenallen recently, I stopped off at Jeannie’s Java for a latte and breakfast burrito. Jeannie’s daughter and I began chatting and when she heard I was coming from Tok, she mentioned that a young man was trying to get to Tok to try to hitch a flight to Eagle. He was a photographer on assigment, and she asked if I’d speak with him. Sure, I said, and that’s how I met Ross McDermott.

Ross was on assignment to shoot photographs of the devastation in Eagle. One story was a Studio 360 radio piece by his friend Jesse Dukes and the other an article for Mother Jones magazine by Ted Genoways of the Virginia Quarterly Review (both should be out end of June).

I told Ross that I’d be heading back to Tok in the afternoon, then gave him a slew of ideas and people’s names in Tok who I thought could help him in his quest to get to Eagle. We exchanged contact information, and on my way home, I learned that he was able to hitchhike to Tok about half hour after he and I spoke.

Ross got back in touch recently to say he did get to Eagle by hitchhiking from Tok, and was able to take photos. He was kind enough to send me a bunch of them to choose one for this blog. Below is the one I picked that I thought really reflected both the physical and emotional impact of the disaster.

Take a look at Ross’s professional site and also his American Festivals Project. He’s a very talented guy. I hope his images help the world see what happened up here.

You can also check out Eagle Flood Info.

RM_eagle  24

photo used with permission from Ross Dermott

Have you been to Eagle? Please share stories, images and any advice on how we can help our neighbors.

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  1. Wow. That is an amazing picture. Definately shows his talent as a photog to capture so much emotion in such a small defined space.

  2. Kay

     /  June 28, 2009

    Touches deep places–I survived a major natural disaster and I now know Alaska and my heart goes out to Eagle and everyone helping. Thanks for being a stepping stone in the pond.

  3. It was truly amazing when Ross showed up in Eagle. He had gotten 12 rides in 48 hours–and technically he wasn’t on assignment–he was shooting on spec, which means that there was no guarantee he’d make any money at all. Fortunately, he’s already sold a couple of photos to UVA Magazine.

    I believe that the photo you’ve chosen shows Kate Rorke and Marilyn Hinckley. Both had their own harrowing survival story, and both experienced damage on the flood. That was the day when the ice had melted enough to let her see her homesite for the first time–3 weeks after the flood!

    I wanted to say that my piece for Studio 360 is now targeted for July 11th. Ted’s Mother Jones story won’t be available until mid-August. I wish we both could get this incredible story out to the world sooner, but we’re limited by the needs of those we’re working for. Thanks for posting on Ross, and helping him get where he was going.


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