Colorado Mining History in Images
Photographer's assistant, and pack mules carrying all the supplies and equipment
necessary to create a image. Note the portable darkroom on the right of the photograph.
Below are around one hundred rare and important favorites from the Keller Mining Photographic Collection. Please be patient while they load if you have a slower connection to the net. A lot of the images have been published in various Colorado history books and several have not. Many were made by now famous photographers like William H. Jackson, J. Thurlow, Chas. Weitfle, and my favorite Alexander Martin.
Alexander Martin took many photographs in very remote and hard to get to regions of Colorado , many of the spots that Martin photographed from are still difficult to get to even to this day. He is not as famous as W.H. Jackson, but he was just as proficient and skilled. Several of his photographs transcend from not just photography, but into successfully imitating the natural landscape with a painters esthetic.
Alexander Martin also experimented with the special effect of composite printing of images. An example is the stereo photograph where the right half of the image is of a real photograph of a pack mule, and the right half is of a painting of the great loop, and the bottom part of the image is of rocks set up in the studio. A rare and unusual image for its location and time of creation.
Alexander Martin also staged or fabricated a great dramatic image of a bear attacking a miners camp. As well as documenting the every day life of the miners as shown in his image camp on the frontier, and land for sale in Leadville.
Martin also created images of comedy in one image Titled "Pons Assindrum" #236. of miners coaxing a stubborn mule across a fallen timber bridge. Even with one miner shown falling off the bridge.
Enormous price jumps are occurring for 19th Century photography by speculative buyers, many are collectors from art markets accustomed to very high prices. Early western frontier photographs are becoming exceeding rare, Many are already in established collections. The great difficulties encountered by these early photographers traveling to remote areas in the west makes them scarce. This is especially true of images of mining, and increasingly more rare are images from inside early mines. Some times the opportunity to buy an item is rarer than the item itself.
Many of the following images are from stereo view cards, and are details from one of the dual images. a few are from Carte De Visit photographs about the size of a contemporary business card. All of the images were captured in Colorado, except the one titled "Lighting the rattails", it was created by N.A. Forsyth in Montana.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any omissions or additions to captions of the photographs, all additional information is welcomed and greatly appreciated to insure greater accuracy of the historic records.
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