Originally published in The Spenardian

Whether you’ve seen her working at Anchorage Cycle or walking around the neighborhood taking photos of abandoned roadside fridges, you’ve probably seen Darcy Stein around Spenard.

Photo courtesy of Darcy Stein.

Stein, originally from New York, has called Alaska home for over five years. It was moving to Alaska and enrolling in a photography class at UAA where Stein found her passion for film.

“This was me finding my passion. Finding more things that I love and wanna learn about,” Stein said. “I don’t think I would have found my love for photography if I stayed in New York.”

Stein sells prints on her online store, does various photo gigs and shares her film photos on her popular Instagram. Since learning about photography through UAA’s film class, which is no longer offered at UAA, Stein has chosen to shoot film exclusively.

“I don’t shoot any digital photography at all. I think about getting a digital camera, I go back and forth, but I just connect so much to film photography,” Stein said. “I look at digital photography and I just don’t feel the soul of it. Film photography is so soulful. It’s so warm. I just feel so much more connected to it.”

One of Stein’s many muses for her photography is Spenard, where Stein calls home.

“It’s got a lot of characters, it’s got a lot of heart and soul,” Stein said. “It’s not just your regular kind of neighborhood where everyone looks the same and all the houses are the same— just cookie cutter. I don’t like that.”

Photo courtesy of Darcy Stein.

Stein believes Spenard’s edginess and quirk is charming, but isn’t for everyone.

“It’s just so kooky. I love it. It’s spunky and charming in its own way. It’s not for everyone. My dad came to visit me and he’s like ‘Why do you live here’,” Stein said. “I’ve never felt afraid to walk my dog or whatever, but it wouldn’t be for everyone.”

Photo courtesy of Darcy Stein.
Photo courtesy of Darcy Stein.

Stein knew she wanted to live in Alaska after she came up with her boyfriend, now husband, as he interviewed for a job, that would eventually bring the couple to the last frontier.

“I walked from Valley of the Moon to downtown down the street. Some man from another country approached me and told me this sob story about how he wanted me to marry him for a green card. He told me he was an accountant and that he could support me and give me a good life,” Stein said. “After that I went to where we were staying and told my husband, like, we are moving here. I told him this place would be a really interesting experience.”

After moving to Alaska Stein equated Anchorage’s many neighborhoods to the boroughs of New York City.

“Spenard is Brooklyn. It’s kooky, but up and coming and all the hipsters want to live here,” Stein said.

Stein’s photos were featured in an art installation at the Church of Love. The installation was a collection of images of Spenard from multiple photographers in the community. The photos were projected onto the wall of the building next to the Church of Love.

“Only in Alaska would there be photos projected on a building,” Stein said. “I like that randomness.”

Graduating this May, Stein will be receiving a degree in culinary arts. Stein said she will be looking to put her work out there more in the future to share with the neighborhood.

Visit Stein’s online print shop  and instagram to see more images.

Print shop: freshprintsofspenard.bigcartel.com

Instagram: @ardhachandrasana

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