Corey Arnold’s world straddles two disparate, yet wonderfully integrated, pursuits — he works as both a professional photographer and an Alaskan crab fisherman. Now there’s a story. We asked him how his inside perspective on human and animal relationships influences his photographs: ‘When I was a kid, I used to stalk birds and other animals with my BB gun in the backyard. My hunter instinct was strong and I’d spend hours searching for victims. Then, after killing something, I was torn by my adrenaline fueled sense of accomplishment and deep sadness for what I had done. The same applied to sport-fishing as a child. The goal was, of course, to seek out and kill the largest, most beautiful fish! At home, I’ve fathered many pets — cats, snakes, dogs, and rabbits. For some instinctual reason, I’m endlessly curious about animals. I like to be in close quarters with them, whether it be gutting a fish for dinner or letting my cat sleep on my head. The human animal series came along naturally. It’s a series of curious animal situations that I’ve encountered throughout my recent life. This is an ongoing series, an exploration of how we relate to animals, and it covers a broad perspective of events both real and designed. My time at sea as a commercial fisherman has given me a more animal perspective on animals than a human one in some ways. The goal is to make pictures that are sometimes brutal and often ridiculous, which is how I experience our shared world with animals’.
How did the shot of the raccoon and the cookie [bottom image] come about?
‘My girlfriend and I were staying at a little bed and breakfast in Astoria, Oregon. We were in the kitchen when a raccoon appeared at the window and the lady running the place opened the window while talking in a baby voice to the raccoon. “Ohhhh, why helllooooo little friend! Are you hungry for a treat!” Apparently there is a whole den of raccoons living in the backyard and she spends the days feeding them cookies. It’s amazing that raccoons can survive off cookies! This photo was taken outside later that day during another cookie feeding’.
What camera are you using?
‘I’ve mixed it up a bit over the last five years, but most of my pictures were taken with a Mamiya 645 or Mamiya 7. Although, recently I’ve been able to mix some digital pictures in and was surprised at how seemlessly they could be incorporated into the same exhibition. With digital, I’m using the Canon 1ds Mark III with fixed lenses. Mostly film though. Film, whenever possible!’