Frontier Photographers Reveal Our Past (University of New Mexico Press, $45)

Meaningful-Places-by-Rachel-McLean-SailorFrom Daguerreotype views, through collodion, wet and dry, stereographs, to the film that I still use and cherish, Rachel McLean Sailor in Meaningful Places: Landscape Photographers in the Nineteenth-Century American West introduces some heretofore obscure pioneering workers in the relatively short history of photography in the American West.

Thomas Easterly held forth in burgeoning St. Louis, Missouri, documenting the “removal” of the enormous mound of the prehistoric Mississippian Culture. Joel Emmons Whitney and Peter Britt concentrated on salient features in their landscapes. The vernacular imagery, at once portraiture and landscape, of Solomon Butcher in Nebraska elicits Sailor’s high praise. The derring-do of the Brothers Kolb of Grand Canyon fame is appropriately celebrated. Above all, the revealing discussion on Ansel Adams, alone, is worth the sticker price.

 

Jay Dusard, photographer and author of The North American Cowboy: A Portrait


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