Alberta photographer helps to correct misinformed narrative about Indigenous peoples

Monday, January 22nd, 2018 6:50pm


Image Caption

Standing Rock photo by award winning photojournalist Amber Bracken


By Jeremy Harpe of CFWE-FM Contributor

Edmonton based award-winning photojournalist Amber Bracken took home the 2017 first prize in the Contemporary Issues category of the World Press photography competition for her work on the Standing Rock pipeline protest, which she described as a big and complicated experience for her.

She went to Standing Rock on four different occasions, spending more than a month on site. When she was there in September 2016, she described the mood as optimistic “and very Utopian… beautiful and warm and open.”

But by December, things were very uncertain about what the government was going to do.

“I think people were scared.” Extreme bad weather added to their burden.

Then February brought a conclusion and some sadness as people started to plan to fight the fossil fuel developments in different ways.

Bracken specializes in documentary photojournalism, portraits and editorial photography. She spoke with Jeremy Harpe of CFWE-FM to talk about her working in Indigenous communities.

“I see Indigenous people being railroaded in so many ways,” she said. “And I grew up with the fallacy that it was something that had happened to them in the past. But as I’ve grown up I’ve realized that it’s something that’s happening.

“I’m interested in telling stories that help to correct that narrative and hopeful add power to movements that are pushing back against some of that.”

After getting her start as a staffer in daily newspapers, since 2014 Bracken has moved on to a freelance career and the pursuit of long-term projects.

Her work can be seen at