AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Picture Maker of the Old West: William H. Jackson

Picture Maker of the Old West: William H. Jackson, by Clarence S. Jackson. 303 pages, with 393 illustrations. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1947. $7.50.

Anyone with an eye for pictures and a love of the great open spaces should enjoy this book about the early life of William H. Jackson, well-known pioneer photographer of the Hayden surveys. Between 1870 and 1880 Jackson and his camera visited the wildest and most beautiful of the western mountain country, from the Yellowstone to the Tetons and Wind Rivers, thence southward through the Sawatch, Elk and San Juan ranges of Colorado to the Mesa Verde and the pueblo towns of New Mexico. Primarily noted as a cameraman, Jackson was quite a hand with brush and pencil as well, as some delightful paintings and sketches show. A colored reproduction or two, one feels, would have added to the book’s effectiveness. Still, the picture record of Jackson’s historic journeys is always intensely interesting and often beautiful and moving. Many of the photographs have become justly famous; the first views of the Yellowstone, for instance, and the familiar shot of the Mount of the Holy Cross. These are all the more impressive when one considers the formidable difficulties faced by the photographer of that day, with his big box camera, collodion wet-plates and cumbersome darkroom equipment that had to be taken along.

Clarence S. Jackson, son of the artist, assembled the illustra- tions; and his pen supplied the sympathetic narrative that accompanies them.

Elizabeth Cowles