Keri Oberly is a photographer/cinematographer based in Ventura, California. Originally from Lake Tahoe, she graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography.
She specializes in documentary photography and film, focusing on environmental and food related issues.
Experienced in all aspects of production from pre-production to post, she has worked on in-depth photo essays, short and feature length documentaries, docuseries, and has been published in international and national publications.
She loves being in the outdoors, volunteering, traveling, and getting lost.
Native Village of Nuiqsut tribal administrator, Martha Itta, searches for caribou along the gravel production road to ConocoPhillips’s Greater Mooses Tooth Unit (GMT-1), outside the village on the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). GMT-1 is the first development built in the calving grounds of the Teshekpuk Caribou, a traditional food source of the Iñupiat. Itta has been a strong voice in the community speaking out against oil and gas development and the effects it is having on the people and animals in the village. Not only has this caused divide in the community, but also within her family. She has had to sacrifice her relationship with her father, who is the president of the Kuukpik Corporation, one of the Native corporations profiting from development.
Flora Kivvaq Ipalook holds a photograph of Nuiqsut at its establishment in 1973. She was one of 27 families who traveled from Utqiaġvik to the Colville River delta to resettle the Kuukpikmiut ancestral homeland. For 18 months they lived in canvas tents while they built their new community. All the while, looming just 60 miles away, an industrial culture was ramping up and would soon begin to creep closer and closer. Today, Nuiqsut is a village of roughly 450 people, mostly Iñupiat descendants, that is surrounded by oil and gas developments and experiencing the impacts of climate change on a daily basis.
Nechelik, a historical fish camp and gravesite that is sinking from thawing permafrost due to climate change. Village elder Lydia Sovalik, 77, spent
decades at this family camp catching and drying whitefish that would last them all year. With the rapid thawing permafrost and the high volume of oil and gas development surrounding Nuiqsut, over 75 historical sites, like Nechelik, that were once used for subsistence hunting areas are now restricted, dangerous, or have been destroyed. Many residents pleaded to the city of Nuiqsut and the Kuukpik Corporation to help relocate these sites, but no action was taken, leaving the owners to relocate or abandon it all together. In Sovalik’s case, ConocoPhillips stepped in last winter to relocate Nechelik, moving the camp 100 feet back.