'Faces of Iditarod' highlights people, pups behind the Last Great Race on Earth

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - There is nothing quite like the Iditarod, and for nearly four decades, one man has had the privilege of being in charge of photographing all the dramatic and sometimes dreamlike scenes you'd recognize from the trail.

This year, however, the mission had a twist.

Jeff Schultz decided that after more than 35 years on the trail, he would do a photo essay project specifically capturing the faces of both humans and canines on the trail.

"I've done a lot of photography on the Iditarod," he said, "but it was the same thing for 38 years. I had to do something different.

"Kind of like Humans of New York," the photographer said, "only different. It shows the humanness of the people behind the race. Not only the mushers, but also the volunteers, the people in the villages..."

He dubbed his series "Faces of Iditarod."

"It was just sharing their stories of why they're out there," Schultz said. "That's the huge part of it. And this project sparked a big interest in me and subsequently the people I saw."

Schultz captured more than 250 subjects on the trail: From village kids to race officials, mushers to their four-legged athletes, every role in the race - and outside of it - that you could think of is likely represented in his collection. He said shot 204 humans and 56 dogs on the trail.

"The mushers were all over this," Schultz added. "They loved to have their dogs photographed."

All of those photos, along with short, three-question interviews in both text and audio formats, have been compiled into a single project

"It was just fun doing it," Schultz said, "to have 99.9 percent of people said, 'Sure, I'd love to have my picture taken!'"

See the full "Faces of Iditarod" portfolio by clicking here.