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UPDATE! Still NOT Made in Alaska – Phuket, We’re buying from Thailand

Looks like Dan is reading TheMudflats. I checked his site today and all the photos mentioned changed over to new ones. You can see for yourself at the screenshot below, taken Wednesday 4/2/2014 at about 9:50am AK Time.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 1.47.49 PM




We published a story titled “NOT Made in Alaska – DC Dan Buys from New Zealand”  about 5 days ago. In the article (which is worth a read) we show that Dan Sullivan bought a photo for his site that was supposed to portray Alaska, but the photo was actually of New Zealand. Not ground breaking investigative research, but if you’re a Senatorial candidate that is having carpetbagger problems – it’s probably best to Buy Alaskan, and represent the actual state you’re running in, instead of a foreign country.

I never received a response as requested from the Sullivan campaign, but I did get a couple from the Miller and Treadwell campaigns.

Miller’s Spokesperson Randy DeSoto: [via e-mail] 

“It seems to me Dan Sullivan doth protest too much about his ties to Alaska. He stepped in it by embellishing his “Alaskan” bio, and it’s been amusing to see non-Alaskans being trooped out in an attempt to bolster his street cred. Now he’s been caught using an image from New Zealand on his “Alaskan” candidate site. It’s all a very amusing spectacle.”

Treadwell’s Spokesperson Fred Brown: [via phone] 

“It’s pretty clear you don’t get more out of touch than that. Doesn’t even recognize Alaska.”

Dan Sullivan’s campaign must have noticed it though, because as of 1pm today Alaska time, I noticed an update. The screenshot to the right shows a nice photo of Dan Sullivan teaching his daughter how to shoot at what I can only assume is his Alaskan cabin. About a 5 day response time, coming from someone who worked in the Bush Administration, is not too bad. It’s about on par with Katrina.


Now the question is, will he update the rest of them?

Under “Healthcare” we have a photo of a perfectly ethnically diverse group of medical employees. That photo is from a photographer from a country with a Universal Healthcare – the United Kingdom. Kind of doubtful that the people in the photo are Americans.

Under “Energy & Natural Resources,” the picture of the pipeline (a widely used photo) is by a photographer from the Netherlands. It IS actually from Alaska though, so give Dan some credit here.

Under “Family Values” the picture of the very cute and diverse group of children is from a company based in the wonderfully named Phuket.

The Mudflats can confirm that the Dan Sullivan campaign is buying photos of children from Phuket, Thailand. The children, are not from Thailand – but the company is.

Ok, we know we’re having fun with this. People buy photos from stock photo websites all the time. I do when I work as an illustrator – even as a photographer myself, sometimes it’s just easier to buy a photo than to set up a whole photo shoot, pay for lighting, rights, etc.  But, I’m not running for Senate. And these photos that I purchase are not going on my Senate campaign website that is asking Alaskans to donate money to me so I can represent Alaska. [Photographers and artists in Alaska vote by the way]

I’ve tried and failed to work as a photographer in Alaska. It’s tough. They say that if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere. Well, I’ve made it as a photographer in NYC, but I couldn’t make it in Alaska. Alaskan photographers are a different breed, the technical knowhow that goes into even getting to the physical location to take some photos there is beyond most people. This is why it pains me to see when someone who is running to represent Alaska can’t even be bothered to support them, by purchasing their work.

After I published the first article on Sullivan’s photo problem, I talked to a couple of Alaskan photographers about this issue. Most just expressed general disgust, but one, who chose to remain anonymous gave me a response.

 “I don’t know if it is ironic or symbolic that someone who is not from Alaska running for senate in Alaska is using not-from-Alaska stock photos. But given the number of award-winning, world-class nature and landscape photographers we have living right here in Alaska, it is insulting and insightful that Dan Sullivan would not look to them, or even Alaska’s premier stock photo agency, Alaska Stock, to populate his website. We make fun of New Hampshire when it uses stock photos from Alaska to sell the joys of biking in the New Hampshire countryside. This rather casual and indifferent use of stock photos from New Zealand to sell a non-existent Alaska persona is not only ridicule-worthy, but pathetic. I would like to ask Dan Sullivan why he does not think Alaskan photographers are good enough for his website. If the authenticity of his candidacy mattered, he should have directed his staff to make sure only Alaskan photos by Alaskan photographers were used on his website.” 

Doubt I could put it any better.

If the Sullivan campaign is interested in making its website a bit more ‘Alaska Grown‘ I’d be happy to put them in touch with any number of Alaskan photographers that I’m sure would love the work. My e-mail is zdroberts (at)



10 Responses to “UPDATE! Still NOT Made in Alaska – Phuket, We’re buying from Thailand”
  1. Bigtoe says:

    “Phuket” is exceptionally named.

  2. Mag the Mick says:

    Alaska seems to be the only state where one has to not only prove but also boast of one’s “Alaskan-ness” daily. And it usually involves shooting something, preparing Native foods, or being seen in the company of people who do. I wish instead Alaskans would exhibit how they live out their beliefs, the quality of their characters, and what their ideas are for making things better. A recent ad I saw showing Mark Begich watching cooks at the Native Hospital preparing Eskimo ice cream (please forgive me for not knowing the right word for it) would do nothing to convince me to vote for him.

  3. Alaska Pi says:

    Please note Mr Sullivan was quick to hire rill Alaskans to run his campaign- note the Pebble dude, the whatzername flack, and the like?

    And these rill Alaskans can’t get their heads around making the website folk(s) slaughter some turkeys in the background whilst CarpetDan shows his daughter all about the second amendment? Or similar rill Alaska fare?
    Come on gang- step up to the plate!

  4. mike from iowa says:

    I wuzn’t made in Alaska neither,but I have a sfotspot for people that live in forests with bears.

    • Alaska Pi says:


      mikey- Did you know there’s a whole lot of city folks in Alaska who think our Southeast forests, fish, bears, people and towns/villages are NOT Rill-Alaska?

  5. John says:

    But if Ohio can get a third senator, they might be able to change the nam of Denali National Park to McKinley park.

  6. Zyxomma says:

    All the more reason to re-elect Mark Begich. Remember, AK voters, it’s not Republicans alone who have filled Congress with out-of-control tea partiers and other assorted rightwing nut jobs. It’s Democratic and Independent voters who STAY HOME on election day. Make sure everyone you know who is eligible to vote is registered and votes!

    • JHypers says:

      I always thought the point of our U.S. delegation was to pick 3 people and kick them out of Alaska…in which case every Alaskan should vote for Sullivan, whether he’s on the ballot or not.