My good friend Dan Russell asked me to join him and our good friend, Don Jones, in an amazing exhibition. He said, let’s document 19th century Colorado Springs with 19th century photographic processes for the 150th birthday of Colorado Springs this summer. And, he said, I even have a place to exhibit! An honor, and a whole hell of a lot of fun!
So, I got started, and I chose the landscape – the ancient rocks of the Garden of the Gods, the hogbacks of Glen Eyrie, and the Hoodoos of Palmer Park and Woodmen Valley. All these geological wonders would have been here, standing alone without roads, neighborhoods, houses, and shops, when the earliest settlers came to Colorado Springs. I chose to photograph most of this project in the Wet Plate Collodion process using the darkroom trailer (or “What is it?” wagon) that Don and I pull around town. For a few of the shoots, I decided to use a dry plate negative printed via the Van Dyke Brown process on cotton paper. This was for the areas I had to hike into, and couldn’t run to the trailer in time for the wet-plate exposure. I also gave a nod to one of the earliest female photographers, Anna Atkins, a botanist and photographer, who used the cyanotype process to document the specimens in her botany work. I chose to document specimens that would have been found living here among the earliest settlers. Here are some photographs and videos documenting our journey to complete this project in about 5 months before our July 2nd, 2021 opening at The Carter Payne Center.