Wyoming Revisited

Wyoming Revisited: Rephotographing the Scenes of Joseph E. Stimson

Michael A. Amundson
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Wyoming Revisited
    Book Description:

    InWyoming Revisited, Michael A. Amundson uses the power of rephotography to show how landscapes across the state have endured over the last century. Three sets of photographs-the original black-and-white photographs taken by famed Wyoming photographer Joseph E. Stimson more than a century ago, repeat black-and-white images taken by Amundson in the 1980s, and a third view in color taken by the author in 2007-2008-are accompanied by captions explaining the history and importance of each site as well as information on the process of repeat photographic fieldwork.

    The 117 locations feature street views of Wyoming towns and cities, as well as views from the state's famous natural landmarks like Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Devil's Tower National Monument, Hot Springs State Park, and Big Horn and Shoshone National Forests. In addition, Amundson provides six in-depth essays that explore the life of Joseph E. Stimson, the rephotographic process and how it has evolved, and how repeat photography can be used to understand history, landscape, historic preservation, and globalization.

    Wyoming Revisitedhighlights the historic evolution of the American West over the past century and showcases the significant changes that have occurred over the past twenty-five years. This book will appeal to photographers, historians of the American West, and anyone interested in Wyoming's history or landscape.The publication of this book is supported in part by the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.

    eISBN: 978-1-60732-305-1
    Subjects: Art & Art History, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Revisiting Wyoming Time and Again
    (pp. 1-10)

    Between 1890 and 1952, Cheyenne, Wyoming, photographer Joseph Elam Stimson produced more than 7,500 promotional images of Wyoming and the West. He made many of these photographs for his two main employers, the State of Wyoming and the Union Pacific Railroad. During the summer of 1903, he prepared views of the state for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. That year, Stimson traveled throughout Wyoming’s then thirteen counties as well as Yellowstone National Park, documenting townscapes, mines, ranches, farms, oil wells, tourist sites, and other places that could help sell the state to would-be investors and settlers. His images, preserved...

  5. Part I. J. E. Stimson, Wyoming, and Me
    • CHAPTER 1 J. E. Stimson, Wyoming Photographer
      (pp. 13-28)

      Between 1889 and 1948, Joseph Elam Stimson of Cheyenne photographed Wyoming and the American West, producing more than 7,500 images of scenic landscapes, mining, railroads, community life, ranching and farming, and tourism. Most of these shots were made on 8 × 10-inch glass plates and are artistically composed and incredibly sharp. They are not a cross-section of the Progressive Era West but instead are promotional photographs, specifically composed and created for Stimson’s various employers, including the Union Pacific Railroad, the Wyoming State government, and the Bureau of Reclamation. On many of the images, Stimson placed a small stamp, circumscribed by...

    • CHAPTER 2 Four Summers with Stimson: Rephotographing Wyoming in 1987–88 and 2007–08
      (pp. 29-48)

      Twice over the last three decades I have conducted two-year rephotography projects tracing J. E. Stimson’s work in Wyoming. Like many other repeat photographers,¹ I have carried out extensive archival work to select potential views, spent months in the field taking pictures, and expended even more hours perfecting the images, researching their subjects, analyzing their content, and making the photographs available for presentation. Over those twenty-five years, I have learned not only about J. E. Stimson’s history, as described in chapter 1, but also about how the processes of photography and rephotography have changed. An examination of how I spent...

  6. Part II. Seeing Anew
    • CHAPTER 3 Wyoming and the World
      (pp. 51-60)

      In 1906, J. E. Stimson traveled east to Omaha, Nebraska, to photograph the Lane Cutoff, a massive, eleven-mile fill between South Omaha and the small community of Lane, Nebraska. The fill was part of Edward H. Harriman’s plan to rebuild the Union Pacific to show that the railroad was an efficient, modern carrier. After capturing images of the work in progress, Stimson boarded a UP train and headed west, photographing the railroad all the way to California as part of what he labeled the “Journey across the Continent.” As part of that project, the photographer disembarked from the train just...

    • CHAPTER 4 Looking at Sacred and Profane Landscapes
      (pp. 61-80)

      In his acclaimed bookUnder Western Skies, environmental historian Donald Worster examines the history of the Black Hills of South Dakota through the lens of sacred and profane landscapes. According to Worster, the Lakota Sioux held the Black Hills as sacred, their spiritual center that forever needed to be protected and preserved. In contrast, Worster argues that Euro-Americans saw the Black Hills as profane, an ordinary place where gold mining and other extractive industries could be carried out.¹ Worster’s book is instructive as we examine my rephotography of Stimson’s photographs because it helps us see how Wyoming’s sacred and profane...

    • CHAPTER 5 The Modern and Postmodern in Wyoming?
      (pp. 81-90)

      While waiting for dinner in a Perkins restaurant in Sheridan during our first summer of rephotography in 2007, Lauren and I did what we often do at dinner: scan local real estate magazines. I was living in a small townhouse in Flagstaff, and it was fun to investigate the real estate scene in other places and dream about owning a big house someday. As I sat looking through the listings, one image struck me. It depicted a large home in nearby Ranchester known as the Old Stone Inn bed and breakfast. I was certain that it looked like a Stimson...

  7. Part III. Plates and Captions
    • 6. Captions for Photographs and Rephotographs
      (pp. 91-354)

      J. E. Stimson made the original photographs in this book over more than a thirty-year period and in no particular geographic order. His images range from 1898 to the 1920s and cover the entire state, from Cheyenne to Yellowstone and Evanston to Sundance. To make some sense of this, I have reconstructed them in a geographic arrangement, allowing location to take precedence over time.

      Section A, the Union Pacific and Its Branches, begins in Stimson’s adopted hometown of Cheyenne and follows his primary employer, the Union Pacific Railroad, and its subsidiaries, the Saratoga and Encampment Railway and the Oregon Short...

  8. EPILOGUE: Atop the Digital Divide
    (pp. 355-366)

    When I set out on this project in the summer of 2007, I thought I was making a radical shift by employing a digital camera instead of the trusted old 4 × 5 film camera. It seemed that as I loaded pictures every night from my memory card into my laptop, worked on those same pictures in the digital darkroom of Photoshop, or later printed those images on my color printer, I had indeed made an important transition. I had crossed the digital divide. But as I worked on researching, organizing, and writing this book, using computer spreadsheets, digitized online...

  9. Appendix
    (pp. 367-370)
  10. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 371-378)
  11. Index
    (pp. 379-386)