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HomeContentsThemes > Kansas


Information requests
458.01   Improving content on US states
458.02   Alexander Gardner and others: Across the continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad
458.03   Joseph P. Babbitt: Engineers and Surveyors on the Kansas City Bridge (1869)
458.04   Black Blizzards
458.05   Lori Nix: Accidentally Kansas
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated.
Information requests 
458.01   North and Central America >  Improving content on US states 
We are seeking to extend the information and examples we can share on this American state.
  • The introduction of photography - The earliest known photographs of this state/territory and who was involved.
  • Documentary - Significant documentary, expedition or scientific studies - funded by government, industrial, religious groups or charities. Perhaps there have been studies of civil engineering projects, urban renewal and railroad construction. If you know where images can be obtained from let us know.
  • Regional photographic societies - Details on any societies and camera clubs that have been significant.
  • Publications - Local books, directories, journals and articles which you consider are significant in understanding this region. Particularly interested in early illustrated books, portfolios and albums. Images of the covers are useful.
  • Photographic studios - Both historic and contemporary studios along with photographs of them and any photography-related advertising .
  • Photographers - Listings and biographies of important local photographers and those who visited.
  • Anecdotes - Stories about local photographers, studios, collectors or perhaps the story behind a single photograph.
  • Collections - Contact details for collections that you know contain work that should be better known. Are there collections that you know which are at risk? If you own photography collections let us know (This will not be made public without your permission.)
  • Newspapers / magazines - Early examples where their use of photography was innovative or historically significant.
  • Photography in popular culture - Cartoons, tales, songs, poems, superstitions and stories.
  • Unusual - Is there anything unusual that you know about in the history of photography of this region?
  • Experts - Names of any specialists in the photo-history of this state. Have you written about this state and have something you would like to share? (This will not be made public without your permission and please include yourself if you feel it is appropriate.)
These points are indicative of topics that could be included on this page.
If you are able to assist in any way it is appreciated.
458.02   North and Central America >  Alexander Gardner and others: Across the continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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The photographs of Alexander Gardner were produced in the portfolio Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad (Route of the 35th Parallel)[1] which consists of 125 plates from a survey made by the Kansas Pacific Railroad from Saint Louis to San Francisco, California in 1867 and 1868. They went through Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and into California. These are the first photographs known for many of these locations.
It is not clear exactly who took which photographs in this series as other photographers were involved including Dr. William A. Bell, William Redish Pywell, and Alexander Gardner's son, Lawrence as D. Mark Katz has pointed out:
"As official photographer for the expedition, Gardner was allowed to published all the expedition photographs under his name. In 1867 he stated in a deposition that although a photograph was identified on the mount as a 'Photograph by A. Gardner,' it simply meant that it was printed or copied in his gallery; he was not necessarily the photographer. The other photographers on the expedition were Dr. William A. Bell, William R. Pywell, and Gardner's son, Lawrence, who apprenticed on the expedition." [2]
458.03   North and Central America >  Joseph P. Babbitt: Engineers and Surveyors on the Kansas City Bridge (1869) 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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458.04   North and Central America >  Black Blizzards 
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On a postcard entitled "Dust Storm in Rolla, Kansas" dated 6 May 1935 it has the following message:
Dear Mr. Roosevelt,
Darkness came when it hit us. Picture taken from water tower one hundred feet high.
Yours Truly, Chas. P. Williams.[3]
458.05   North and Central America >  Lori Nix: Accidentally Kansas 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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One of the inventors of photography was Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre who with artist Charles Marie Bouton constructed vast dioramas which through the use of blinds, lighting and a clever use of perspective create a sense of wonder for the audience.[4] Here an essentially two-dimensional surface was given life through lighting and the illusion of depth.
Lori Nix works at the level of a model-making artist creating meticulously detailed worlds that are lit and then photographed, considering herself as a "faux landscape painter".[5] Her series of work such as Accidently Kansas involved highly detailed dioramas that create the illusion of an almost believable world of impending disaster...  
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As Lori Nix said:
Accidently Kansas, relies more on the idea of the tall tale, where each image seems to illustrate a story that begins, "You’ll never believe what I saw…" They maintain an innocence and optimism, despite some unfortunate situations. (15 Sept 2008)
As art critic Sidney Lawrence wrote:
"Oddly endearing, terrifying and often electrifyingly plausible, [Nix’s tableaux] prod us to ponder the fact that, like it or not, our fate is uncertain."[6]
The continuing theme of a world out of balance is integral to her series The City[7] where a city has been abandoned and nature has returned.  
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  1. Λ Alexander Gardner, 1869 (ca), Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad (Route of the 35th Parallel). There is a copy of this portfolio in Boston Public Library, Print Department. 
  2. Λ D. Mark Katz, 1991, Witness to an era: the life and photographs of Alexander Gardner: the Civil War, Lincoln, and the West, (Nashville, Tennessee: Rutledge Hill), p. 220 
  3. Λ National Archives and Records Administration, [ARC Identifier: 195691] 
  4. Λ Helmut Gernsheim & Alison Gernsheim, 1968, L. J. M. Daguerre: The History of the Diorama and the Daguerreotype, (New York: Dover Publications, Inc.) [Second revised edition. Reprint of the 1956 London edition]; R. Derek Wood, 1997, ‘Daguerre and his Diorama in the 1830s: some financial announcements‘, Photoresearcher (Journal of the European Society for the History of Photography), no. 6, pp. 35-40
    The London diorama was described in - Leigh's New Picture of London (London: Samuel Leigh, 1830), p. 315 and numerous other publications as it was a significant tourist attraction. 
  5. Λ Lori Nix - Soura: the middle east photography magazine - January 2012
    (Accessed: 2 July 2013) 
  6. Λ Sidney Lawrence, April 2008, "Lori Nix", Art in America - cited in publicity for Lori Nix & Barbara Pollack, 2013, Lauri Nix: The City, (Decode Books) 
  7. Λ Lori Nix & Barbara Pollack, 2013, Lauri Nix: The City, (Decode Books)
    “I am fascinated, maybe even a little obsessed, with the idea of the apocalypse. In addition to my childhood experiences growing up with natural disasters in Kansas, I also watched disaster flicks in the 1970s. Each of these experiences has greatly influenced my photographic work.


HomeContents > Further research

General reading 
Mautz, Carl, 1997, Biographies of Western Photographers. A Reference Guide to Photographers Working in the 19th Century American West, (Nevada City: Carl Mautz Publishing) [Δ
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - 

HomeContentsPhotographers > Photographers worth investigating

Lori Nix  (1969-) • Larry Schwarm
HomeGeographical regionsNorth and Central AmericaUSA > Kansas 
A wider gaze

HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Kansas

Please submit suggestions for Online Exhibitions that will enhance this theme.
Alan -

ThumbnailLarry Schwarm & Debbie Fleming Caffery: Aftermath 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (November 30, 2007)

HomeVisual indexes > Kansas

Please submit suggestions for Visual Indexes to enhance this theme.
Alan -

ThumbnailAlexander Gardner and others: Across the continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailJoseph P. Babbitt: Engineers and Surveyors on the Kansas City Bridge 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
Refreshed: 18 January 2015, 09:08
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