|Product Details |
Museum of New Mexico Press
The New York Times Book Review, David Haward Bain
Sights Once Seen ... depicts some of the West's wildest scenery, most of it virtually unchanged after 150 years.
Advance praise: Dolores A. Kilgo, author, Likeness and Landscape: Thomas M. Easterly and the Art of the Daguerreotype. A remarkable accomplishment, carried out with passion, intelligence, and an unmatched mastery of one of the most beautiful and demanding of all photographic processes. Sights Once Seen, the culmination of that project, documents the extraordinary effort that at last brings to light an amazing episode in the early history of American photography.
Little is known about the fifth and last western expedition of the celebrated explorer John Charles Fremont. The great effort to survey a transcontinental railway route across the 38th parallel ended short of success in the snows of Utah in 1854 but involved a meticulous photographic documentation-in daguerreotypes-of the route from the Mississippi westward. It was believed that a central railroad across the country would favor abolitionists in the great debate then raging in the country over slavery. Solomon Nunes Carvalho was hired by Fremont to photograph the expedition-the first time a western expeditionary survey had been systematically documented in photographs. Tragically, the daguerreotypes were destroyed by fire, and Fremont's fifth expedition was lost to history. Author and daguerreotypist Robert Shlaer remarkably has reconstructed the expedition in 120 original daguerreotypes. Using Fremont's maps, expedition documents, and Carvalho's diary accounts, Shlaer recreates the lost expedition across America's most breathtaking landscape using photography's first and most venerable method of daguerreotypy.
About the Author
Robert Shlaer is a master of the contemporary daguerreotype and a recognized authority on daguerreotype methods and history. He is a research associate at the Palace of the Governors, Museum of New Mexico.