PULLMAN, Wash.–In the summer of 1993, photographer Monique Dykstra and a friend canoed down the Yukon River, traveling nearly 2,000 miles across Canada’s Yukon Territory and the state of Alaska. Paddling 30 to 40 miles each day in a canoe named “My Heart,” Dykstra photographed and interviewed the unique individuals she encountered in the sparsely settled wilderness. The new WSU Press book “My Heart on the Yukon River,” featuring 49 striking black-and-white portraits, is the result of her journey.
Represented in “My Heart on the Yukon River” are urban refugees, homesteaders, and loners–some native born, but many from the “lower 48” United States, the Canadian Provinces and Europe. Their reasons for being here are as varied as the vast landscape they occupy. Some are “scarred by something” and running from their past, while others simply “fell in love with the north.” Their tales of economic survival, social change and attachment to the land and the river reveal much about the unique social fabric of this northern land.
A reviewer for “The Montreal Review of Books” wrote of “My Heart on the Yukon River,” “Dykstra’s fine descriptive talents and reflective abilities capture the Yukon’s day-to-day pendulum swing between beauty and brutality, while her portraits provide a window into the lives of some extraordinary people.”
Monique Dykstra was trained at the Dawson Institute of Photography in Montreal, Canada, where she lives. In addition to her work as a commercial photographer, Dykstra has been a firefighter and a forestry worker in Western Canada.
“My Heart on the Yukon River” is a 126-page, 10 1/2″ x 9″ book, with maps and photographs, available in bookstores for $24.95, or direct from the WSU Press at 800/354-7360.
Editors, please note: Monique Dykstra can be reached in Montreal, Quebec, at 514/276-9444. For review copies, author photographs, or more information, please call Beth DeWeese at WSU Press, 509/335-3518.