City Under One Roof

There's just one way into Whittier, Alaska by land: a single-lane tunnel, blasted through two-and-a-half miles of mountain. Cars can drive into Whittier on the bottom of the hour, and out of Whittier on the top. At night, the tunnel closes, making an island of the town until morning.

I lived in Whittier from 2013 to 2014, documenting it in photographs, writing, and archival materials. During that time, I shared an apartment building with most of Whittier's 200 year-round residents. The majority of the community lives in one of two enormous buildings, remnants of Whittier's days as a World War II and Cold War military base. Whittier has weathered earthquakes, neglect, the booms and busts of war, and, unlikely as it always seems, has persisted in spite of it all.

City Under One Roof was awarded the 2013 Dorothea Lange - Paul Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies and a project grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum. American Photo Magazine named City Under One Roof one of the 5 best photography shows of the season when it was shown at Center for Documentary Studies in fall 2014. City Under One Roof has been featured in High Country News onlineGizmodoJuxtapozBusiness Insider, and Satellite Magazine, among others. While there, I covered land use and community development for the regional newspaper, the Turnagain Times.

photographyJen Kinneytravel