The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 558
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Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly
down and away from the viewer. In this picture, the photographer rec-
onciles two seemingly contradictory notions about the nineteenth-
century West: "the free, heroic individual" and "the awesome, monu-
mental, inhuman sublimity of nature," (p. 3) and thus produces, as
Hales correctly analyzes it, an image "rich in nineteenth century Ameri-
can Romanticism and its relation to the Western landscape" (p. 3).
The second image, a photograph made in 1940 for Look magazine,
focuses on the ninety-seven-year-old Jackson, who, posing as a gentle-
manly painter, sits in his study-studio before a canvas depicting the
same scene as that in the earlier photograph. On the canvas, however,
the two figures dominate, and the sublime landscape of the 1872 photo-
graph "recedes gracefully into a hazy, atmospheric backdrop" (p. 4). As
Hales states, "the space between these two pictures, the differences in
their meanings and the worlds surrounding them, and the transforma-
tion implicit in the landscapes they describe" (p. 4) form the subject of
his book. They reveal not only how far William Henry Jackson trav-
eled-from the official photographer to the Hayden Survey of the
American West during the 187os, to a photographic entrepreneur in-
strumental in the mass-marketing of landscape photography at the
turn of the century, and finally to a painter of nostalgic western scenes
in the 1930s--but also to what extent the dominant American myths
of "the radical individual and the free landscape" changed during
Jackson's ninety-nine-year lifespan.
Because of its twin emphasis on Jackson's career and the culture that
produced it (and which it helped to produce), Hales's book is one that
should appeal to a wide audience. Photographic and western enthusi-
asts will appreciate the authoritative chronology of Jackson's images as
well as their profuse illustration; cultural historians will find a masterful
synthesis and explication of some of the more important generalizations
about the transformations in American culture from the nineteenth to
the twentieth centuries, generalizations that Hales acknowledges derive
from the work of such historians as William Goetzmann, Alan Trachten-
berg, and Alfred Chandler. Indeed, in what is perhaps the most visually
fresh and conceptually original chapter, Hales extends these historians'
ideas to show how the themes of exploration and commodification be-
came important in Jackson's work beyond America's borders, on what
Hales calls an "imperial frontier."
One might argue with some of Hales's analyses of specific images; my
reading of "Cotton Gin at Dahomey" (pl. 131) and "The Gorge at Con-
stantine" was quite different from his. Or one might, on rare occasion,
fault his methodological assumptions. In discussing the impact of Jack-
son's photographs published at the turn of the century by the Detroit
Photographic Company, the nation's most important producer of pic-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/628/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.