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Frederick O. Bemm (Active: 1910s-1930s)
Native American at Train Station
4 x 3 1/4 ins
Private collection of Mark Jacobs
Bemm was a staff photographer for the Art Institute of Chicago and later owned and operated a studio. His work appears in many magazines of the period. Rail lines such as those operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, the Gulf Coast and Santa Fe Railway, the Kansas Pacific Railway, and the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, brought wave upon wave of passengers to the American West. Entrepreneurs such as Fred Harvey catered for these tourists by establishing dining facilities along these routes which, in some cases, evolved to become landmark hotels located in Santa Fe and Gallup, New Mexico, in Winslow, Arizona, and at the South Rim and the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Harvey was also known for pioneering the art of commercial cultural tourism. His "Indian Detours" were meant to provide an "authentic" look at Native Americans in order to promote ticket sales to tourists. Local Native Americans would also use train stops to sell souvenirs to the tourist trade. An unusual and direct portrait which evokes distress with the viewer.