BEN HUFF: The Last Road North |

Santa pictures not picked up

Newspace Center for Photography is pleased to announce two new exhibitions and a full public programs schedule in November and December:


The Last Road North

November 6, 2015 – January 2, 2016

The Last Road North represents photographer Ben Huff’s visual journey along America’s northernmost road, the Haul Road—a thoroughfare that stretches 414 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields at the foot of the Arctic Ocean. Huff documented scenes and impressions from the highway for over five years—intrigued by the captivating Alaskan landscape, and the individuals and machines that navigate it. Fellow adventure seekers feature prominently via close-up portraits and traces they have left along the way in abandoned vehicles, trailers, barrels, and more. His portrayal punctuates the clear divide the road generates between pure wilderness and the man-made intervention, embodied in the pipeline snaking beside the highway. The power structure that emerges from The Last Road North is clear – the oil industry is second to none.

Ben Huff is a photographer based in Juneau, Alaska. He has exhibited extensively in Alaska, the contiguous United States and China, and has published in international publications. Pictures from his series The Last Road North have been collected by the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska State museum. He is a recipient of grants from the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska Arts Council, and was an Artist-in-Residence at Lightwork in Syracuse, NY in July 2014.  

Santa pictures not picked up: Photographs from the Oregon Historical Society

November 6, 2015 – January 2, 2016

Newspace Center for Photography and the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) join forces to present a collection of photographs in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season. While examining negatives donated to OHS, archivist Matthew Cowan came across a box with ‘Santa pictures not picked up’ scrawled across the top. Intrigued by the description, he began reviewing its contents and found hundreds of pictures of a familiar holiday tradition: children posed on Santa’s lap. These orphaned images were taken in the 1950s and 60s by Earnest Walter Rollins, a photographer from Coquille, OR who would often be hired for portraits and community events. These images, one box of many that made their way to OHS, are the remnants – photographs and negatives that were never claimed. The trove of images ranges from ones displaying the commonplace pose of smiling children to idiosyncratic moments tinged with humor and foolhardy. Together they form a playful and celebratory portrait of a small community in a particular moment in time.

This exhibition was co-organized by Yaelle Amir, Curator at Newspace Center for Photography and Matthew Cowan, Photography and Moving Image Archivist at the Oregon Historical Society.


All events are free, open to the public, and take place at Newspace (1632 SE 10th Ave). Additional event information is available on Newspace’s website.

Throughout the opening reception, an intimate recording of a reading by legendary Alaskan poet John Haines will be playing in Newspace’s lighting studio. Haines’ poems were instrumental in the formation of The Last Road North, specifically the books Winter News and The Stone Harp, which Huff carried with him in the course of his travels along Haul Road.

Newspace is pleased to host three esteemed individuals who will offer their perspective on Huff’s work and its implications: literary critic, editor and publisher John Freeman, photographer Ben Huff, and writer Barry Lopez.

In October 2011 Indiana University in Bloomington acquired over twelve-thousand 16mm film prints from the state of Oregon. From sheep shearing and venereal disease to the finer points of how to tie-dye these films spanned over sixty years of audio-visual education in Oregon. What value do these films hold for audiences in 2015? Why did they end up at a major (out of state) university film archive? These questions and more will be tackled as we bring some of these films back to Oregon for their first public screening in decades. Will also include films and slides from the Oregon Historical Society Moving Image Collection. Made possible with the support of the Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Film and the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Organized by Matthew Cowan, Archivist, Moving Image and Photography Collection, Oregon Historical Society.



Youth: Cyanotype Holiday Cards: November 22. Instructor: Morgan Konn.

Digital Family History: December 2 & December 9. Instructor: Pete Gomena.



Newspace Center for Photography is located at 1632 10th Ave, Portland, OR.

Gallery hours: Monday – Thursday 10:00am-9:30pm; Friday – Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm.


For press inquiries, contact Newspace Curator Yaelle S. Amir at or 503.963.1935.