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William Henry Jackson 
The Mountain of the Holy Cross 
1873 
  
Albumen silver print 
10 1/4 x 13 1/4 ins 
  
George Eastman Museum 
 
LL/33166 
  
Numerous photographers have tried to duplicate Jackson's image without success. Today the picture is a curiosity, but to the viewers of that time, besieged by theories of positivism and Darwinian evolution, the image was widely viewed as a concrete symbol of Christian faith and a solid manifestation of God's law.
 
Some critics claimed Jackson retouched the snowy cross portion of the image. Handwork does appear in the shadowy stream (lower right center) leading up to the cross, but not in the area around the cross itself. There is nothing unusual about this practice, as wet-plate photographers relied on handwork for effect as well as to correct for deficiencies in the process. It is probable that erosion has caused the arm to retain less snow. 
 

 
  
 
  
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