Chief Washakie’s Shoshone camp in the foothills of the Wind River Range on September 3, 1870 (William Henry Jackson, Utah State Historical Society USHS-970.8-14638) and in 2010 (CW-2010-09-26-454). In the recent view, as was unavoidable for several historic photographs, visiting the site and placing the tripod required coming to a “working agreement” with the friendly, and maybe even not-so-friendly, neighborhood dog. My toughest canid assignment was conducting a rapid-speed obedience course with a devoted watch-dog at Eden Valley on the Highwood River at 6:30 AM one beautiful fall morning. We didn’t need to wake up the whole village.
For a quick view of some exceptional repeat photographs click: Northwest Classics
The Pacific Northwest of North America is one of the first regions in the world where the camera caught up with the “Columbian exchange” or the incredible changes that occurred when human activities reached a global scale. In this website I use then and now photographs to describe landscape change resulting from a host of changes including the collapse of Native American populations, industrialization, suppression of forest fires, and most recently, an amazing wave of urbanization as millions of people leave the cities, and move into the countryside. You can browse the website in three different ways:
Map– Simply click on the markers on the map to see then and now images.
Gallery views by region– I post then and now images for each region as they are available. See the top menu;
Themes– To evaluate landscape change, I use the then-now photographs linked to historical accounts as a visual way to describe landscape change through several themes. These are works in progress, but include:
1. Google Earth Map of Journal Wildlife Observations– For my rephotography work, I often use a Google Earth map to plot the routes of early travelers in the northwest, and what wildlife they saw or hunted along the way. Some website visitors may wish to download this Google Earth map to become more familiar with historical conditions along these routes.
2. The Fur Trade– This period has an exceptional literature of historical observations, and provides a good bridge between archaeology, anthropology, and Native American traditional knowledge, and current changing ecological conditions. This theme view follows the fur trade from the 1780s to the 1860s, and changes evident in photographs since that time;
3. Valleys of Bison, Rivers of Salmon– An important part of the Northwest’s long-term ecology was the bison’s annual fall and winter movements towards the foothills for shelter from prairie winters and their encounters with Native Americans sustained by salmon on the western slopes crossing the mountains to obtain pemmican, robes, hides and leather. In the next few years I will explore this theme in more detail.
4. Land Use– This theme provides an opportunity to link long-term ecological processes with current issues from community development to park management. I’ll poke away at this as the opportunity arises.
Again, in the next few years I will expand using repeat photographs to work through these themes. I will post images that I have retaken, and those that still need good quality repeat photographs.
So, if you wish to participate, please grab your camera, and look for good light along the footsteps of photographers-past. If you obtain some good quality then/now photographs that tie in to one of my themes, I’d be pleased to post your work.
Cliff White, Canmore, Alberta