Asahel Curtis

Here’s Asahel Curtis in a selfie from 1910. When I think about the quintessential Pacific Northwest deep woods portrait this composition always comes to mind-the undercut gash in a giant conifer with some guy and his ax or saw laying in the opening like a circus lion tamer with his head in the jaws. The subtext of course is that the lumberjack’s work is only half done and once the shutter has clicked its back to the hard work of falling the tree. In 1910 Curtis was indeed not even half way done with his life work creating an astounding treasure of photographs that record our history over a 40 year period. Asahel’s brother Edward is more widely known for his monumental work documenting North American native people but the 50,000 glass plate negatives made by Asahel still represent a breathtaking view of our part of the world between the Klondike Gold Rush and the beginning of the Second World War.
Here are some samples and the link to the on line collection of Asahel Curtis Images at the Washington State Historical Society.…/la…/collection/curtis

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