With the assistance of the funds raised on Kickstarter, I will begin a new photographic landscape project documenting the distant and almost mythical islands that pilot, Amelia Earhart is thought to have landed or crashed upon during her heroic but ill-fated attempt to be the first person to circumnavigate the globe in 1937. I will travel to a few uninhabited islands in the Phoenix Island Group, called Nikumaroro, Howland and McKean, to photograph their long-held history and legends.
Nikumaroro Island, for instance, was colonized in 1938 in an effort to bleed off surplus population from the southern Gilbert Islands into economically self-sufficient coconut plantations in the mostly uninhabited Phoenix group. A village was founded near the north end of the island, but the colony only lasted until 1963 when it succumbed to drought conditions. I will photograph this “ghostly” village where it is said many bits of aluminum and rivets from a plane of similar type to Earhart’s have been found. I will photograph the reef where an historical image of a tail-section of a plane was taken as well as document the sites where it is surmised she and her navigator, Fred Noonan survived and lived off birds and turtles. Like the great adventurer Earhart and her navigator Noonan, the island will most likely suffer the same fate of being lost at sea, as it is to become the first casualty of global warming with this archipelago being swallowed by the sea and as such needs to be documented.