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Time Exposure: The Autobiography of William…

Time Exposure: The Autobiography of William Henry Jackson (edition 1994)

by William Henry Jackson

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Title:Time Exposure: The Autobiography of William Henry Jackson
Authors:William Henry Jackson
Info:Patrice Pr (1994), Paperback, 347 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Biography Autobiography Memoir, History - 19th C. American

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Time Exposure: The Autobiography of William Henry Jackson by William Henry Jackson

  1. 00
    Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted (A Merloyd Lawrence Book) by Justin Martin (rakerman)
    rakerman: Olmstead lived from 1822-1903, William Henry Jackson from 1843-1942. They both lived extraordinary, varied lives in the 19th Century, when today's United States was still very much a frontier in the west, and for a time at war with itself. Their paths intersect at Yosemite, whose protection owes much to the understanding of nature and political connections of Olmstead, and the amazing photographs of Jackson.… (more)

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William Henry Jackson was a remarkable man, with a life so full of activity that he only got around to writing his autobiography Time Exposure in 1940, when he was 97 years old.

After quite a lot of detail describing his early home life, his adventures get underway as he enlists in the army, ending up in Company K of the Twelfth Vermont Volunteers.

After the war, he settles into a comfortable life as a photographer's assistant, but following a romantic disappointment lights out for the West. He has an incredible career that ranges all over the Western United States, just one example of which is being the first man to photograph Yellowstone in 1871, images which helped in its being made into a National Park in 1872.

Following that, amongst other impressive adventures, he travels around the world with the "World's Transportation Commission", across India, Australia and Korea, ending up crossing Siberia by open sledge. Even after that, his life still holds many more future events.

It is a remarkable work that would qualify as excellent fiction, but is even the more interesting for being an account of a real life from the beginning stages of the settlement of the American West through to the mid-1900s. He records an incredible time of change and relatively speaking, quite a recent moment in history. It's amazing to think that at that time, less than 150 years ago, they had a civil war, and after that the railway was just pushing its way west. Los Angeles was a town of just 5000 people. All in all it's a fascinating first-hand encounter with an enthusiastic, adventurous photographer and painter.

My only wish would have been for more of his photos and paintings -- he selected his favourites I guess, but they are a small sample mostly showing people or locations he was particularly fond of. I suppose with a lifetime of thousands of photographs, it would take dozens of volumes to give his visual work justice. ( )
1 vote rakerman | Jul 20, 2006 |
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