JACKSON, WILLIAM HENRY
The photographs which earned William Henry Jack- son an important place in photographic and American history were made in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, but he continued an active life well into the next century with his images reaching an ever wider audience through color post cards, publications, and exhibitions. Unlike other pioneer photographers of the West, Jackson became a living legend.
Born in Keeseville, New York, on April 4, 1843, Jackson credited his mother with providing watercolor instruction and with introducing him to Chapman’s American Drawing Book. Following school graduation in 1858, he became a retoucher and colorist for a Troy photographic studio, and two years later he was similarly employed in Rutland, Vermont.
With the onset of the Civil War, Jackson enlisted in a Vermont regiment and served as a staff artist. Honor- ably discharged in 1863, he returned to the Rutland studio, but the following year he became a studio artist in Styles’Gailery in Burlington, Vermont. Here, his cultural horizons broadened, but a broken engagement resulted in an abrupt departure for New York, where he and two buddies then headed westward toward Montana silver mines. He drove oxen, worked as a farm hand in Utah, and unsuccessfully sought work in California before abandoning the mining quest to head eastward. After driving wild horses to Julesburg, Wyoming, and boarding them on a freight train to Omaha, Nebraska, he found a job in that city as a colorist in the Hamilton Gallery. With help from his father, he bought out this photographic studio along with the competitor in 1867, and the next year he formed Jackson Brothers, Photog- raphers, with his brother Ed.
Realizing that studio work was not his forte, Jackson photographed both landscapes and Native Americans
as he followed the route of the yet unfinished Union Pacific Railroad in 1868. He used the cumbersome wet plate process.
The Union Pacific and the Central Pacific tracks fi- nally met at Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869, but Jackson was in Omaha that day marrying Mollie Greer. Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden, Director of the U. S. Geological and Geographical Survey saw Jackson’s work, and the following year included him, without salary, on the 1870 expedition along the Old Oregon Trail through Wyoming.
Hayden, like fellow surveyor and geologist Clarence King, followed John Ruskin’s aesthetics, so he viewed Jackson’s detailed work as both scientific document and artistic statement. Painter Sanford Gifford was also with the Survey. For the 1870 Wyoming expedition, Jackson used a whole plate (61⁄2" × 81⁄2") camera, and photographed both views and Native Americans, as Hayden wanted records of what was wrongly believed to be a vanishing people. Jackson usually photographed Indians in a straight-forward manner, though sometimes with studio props. His later photographs of the Moquis pueblo show the native people in their environment.
Some of Jackson’s most memorable photographs were made on the 1871 expedition to Yellowstone. Accom- panying the party was the painter Thomas Moran, who like Gifford, influenced Jackson’s photography. Jackson photographed the geysers and hot springs with a stereo- scopic camera and with an 11" × 14" camera (imperial plate size). One of the legends surrounding Jackson was that the Yellowstone photographs swayed legislators to vote in favor of making this area the first National Park. Howard Bossen, however, has effectively demonstrated that Jackson’s photographs were but one factor in a powerful lobbying effort to preserve these lands.
Salaried since 1871, Jackson remained with the Hayden projects until the Survey was disbanded in 1879. During this time he made Mountain of the Holy Cross, in1873, a photograph which Moran used for a painting. For the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, Hayden placed Jackson in charge of the Survey’s exhibition, which included his photographs and his clay models of cliff dwellings based on his exploration the previous year in the Mancos Canyon and Canyon de Chelly.
With the end of the Survey, Jackson left Washington, D.C. in 1879, and moved to Denver, Colorado, where he formed the Jackson Photographic Company. Mean- while, western railroads sought tourists and settlers on their routes and recognized the persuasive power of dramatic landscape photographs. Beginning in 1881, Jackson worked for numerous lines as an “official rail- road photographer,” and depicted landscape and trains in picturesque and sublime settings. He now used the new dry plate process, and much of his work involved mammoth plates (18" × 22").
This western railroad photography led to the Balti- more & Ohio railroad’s P. G. Pangborn hiring Jackson in 1892, to photographs along that company’s route. The photographs were shown at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, where Jackson was com- missioned to photograph the architecture.
Pangborn then organized The World Transportation Commission and hired Jackson to photograph a tour that included Egypt, India, China, and Russia. Jackson
was away from his business and family for 17 months, during which time he also supplied Harper’s Weekly with photographs and articles.
Returning from the arduous tour, Jackson found his business foundering, and he sold out to the Photochrom Company in 1897, to become a salaried director and part owner of the parent company, The Detroit Publishing Company. Jackson continued to actively photograph until 1903, when managerial duties precluded extensive travel. The Photochrom Company failed in 1924, and Jackson retired.
In 1936, Jackson painted murals for the U. S. De- partment of the Interior in Washington, D. C. That same year Henry Ford acquired 40,000 of his nega- tives for the Edison Institute in Dearborn, Michigan. By this time Jackson’s camera of choice had shifted from the 20" × 24" plate camera used on the 1875 expedition to a 35 mm Leica. By 1939, he was using Kodachrome film.
Jackson also produced a series of romanticized watercolor paintings based on his original sketches, photographs, and recollections. When 97, he published an autobiography, Time Exposure, which Peter Hales found “heavily embellished,” but which Douglas Waitley claimed had “a scrupulous regard for accuracy...”
Shortly after a fall, Jackson died on 30 June 1942, in New York City at age 99.
Jackson, William Henry. Mammoth Hot Springs, Pulpit Terraces. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1874 (1974.530) Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Born,Keeseville,NewYork,1843.Retoucherandartist in Troy, New York studio, 1857; similar job in Rutland, Vermont, 1860. Civil War volunteer 1861–63; returned to Rutland studio. Artist in Burlington, Vermont studio, 1 864. Left New York City l 866, for West; various jobs including builwhacking. Formed Jackson Brothers, Photographers, 1867. Married Mollie Greer in 1869, and photographed Wyoming. “Official Photographer,” for F. V. Hayden and U.S. Geological and Geographi- cal Survey, 1870–1879. Moved to Washington in 1872, wife died in childbirth. Married Emilie Painter, 1873. Photographed members of Ute tribe, 1874. Organized Survey’s exhibit, Philadelphia Centennial, 1876. Founded The Jackson Photographic Co., Denver, Colorado, 1879,’ work began as “official railroad pho- tographer.” Incorporated as W. H. Jackson Photograph and Publishing Co., 1883. Exhibited and photographed World’s Columbia Exposition, Chicago, 1893. World Transportation Commission tour with Harper’s Weekly assignments, 1894–1896. Part owner, The Detroit Pub- lishing Go. Photographed actively until 1903-, retired from the Detroit Publishing Co., 1924. Mural commis- sion from Department of the Interior, 1936, paintings for National Park Service in 1937. Honorary Fellow, Royal Photographic Society, 1938. Watercolors com- pleted for Oregon Trail Association., 1939. Published autobiography, Time Exposure, 1940. Honorary degree from University of Wyoming (Laramie), 1941. Died, New York City, 30 June 1942.
1876 Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, Pennsylva- nia. Awarded several medals 1889 Jubilee Exhibition, Berlin, Germany. Highest Honors.
1895 Calcutta (India) Photographic Exhibition. Bronze Medal 1902 Traveling exhibition in Santa Fe Railway private car.
1936 Exhibition of Jackson Collection, Denver Public Library.
1942 “Photographs of the Civil War and the American Frontier,” Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
“156 Mountain of the Holy Cross,” 1875. “Cañon of the Rio Las Animas,” ca. 1882. “1068 Grand Cañon of the Colorado,” ca. 1892. “573 The Choonbatty Loop on the East Bengal Rail-
way in the Himalayas,” 1895, “1091 Mammoth Hot Springs on Gardiner’s River (Wyoming), after 1880 “296 View from Tequa Towards Moqui,” 1875.
JAMES, HENRY (1803–1877)
English, patron, officer of the Royal Engineers (Lieutenant 1831, Captain 1846, Colonel 1857, Director General Ordnance Survey 1854–75)
Throughout his career, Colonel Sir Henry James was a proponent of photography as an adjunct to the mis- sion of the Royal Engineers and the Ordnance Survey Office, both in the work of surveying and mapping and resultant publications. He pioneered the use of photog- raphy as a method for reproducing maps and plans and established a studio at the Ordnance Survey offices in Southampton where maps, plans, and documents were photographically reproduced. In 1859 he published Account of Methods Employed for the Reduction of Plans by Photography. Later he claimed the invention of a photo-mechanical technique, photo-zincography, which was developed by two men under his command at the Ordnance Survey Office in Southampton, Eng- land, and at first, starting in 1859, simply a method of preparing a photo-lithographic transfer and applying it to a zinc plate, afterwards printed from. Direct prints from negatives were then made on the zinc plates. Pho- tozincography may refer to a line or a half-tone process. His first successful photozincograph was a reproduction of an etching in 1859. Sir Henry James read a paper to the British Association “On photozincography” in September 1861.
James also saw the utility of photography in field work and ordered the inclusion of photographic docu- mentation in many of the Office’s surveys: Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem (1864); Ordnance Survey of Sinai Peninsula (1869); Plans and Photographs of Stonehenge and of Turusachan in the Island of Lewis (1867); and Notes on the Great Pyramid of Egypt and the Cubits Used in Its Design (1869). In addition he oversaw the production of a photographic facsimile of the Domes- day Book or ancient record of the Survey of English lands, ordered in 1086 by William the Conqueror. This was the first systematic geographic record in England. Under his leadership, photography was an integral component of mapping and surveying accomplished by one of the nineteenth century’s most influential forces for exploration.
JANSSEN, PIERRE JULES CÉSAR (1824–1907)
French astronomer, inventor, and photographer
Janssen studied the solar spectrum and developed a spec- trohelioscope in 1868. In 1867 he concluded that water vapor was present in the atmosphere of Mars. He also discovered an unknown spectral line in the Sun in 1868 and later shared that information with Norman Lockyer, who was credited with the discovery of helium. Janssen was the first to note the granular appearance of the Sun, and published a monumental solar atlas in 1904. Jans- sen taught Mathematics and Physics and was appointed as correspondent to India to observe the total eclipse of the Sun in 1868. His first contribution to scientific photography was proof, using a spectroscope, that the solar prominences are gaseous. He also discovered the chromospheres, a type of gaseous envelope of the Sun. The French government appointed him director of the Astrophysics Observatory in Meudon, France, where he resided for about 30 years. Janssen studied mainly the Sun, publishing an atlas with almost 6000 pictures of its surface.
The convention of photography confronts Janssen with the given world, with what one can find in the real world and what the camera may register in its fragmen- tary vision of time and space. The photographer merely decides when, where and how to do it, which seriously limits the author in the possibilities of creation based on some direct way of shaping the image. In a certain sense, the images had always been there—the task of Janssen is only to spot and register it, which does not seem much. But the history of photography proves that one can perform enormous tasks in this seemingly narrow field. For Janssen himself as a player in the history of photography is photography a creative tool that is composed of repeatedly undertaken attempts at transgression, attempts of going beyond the urely
documentary relation between the image and its object. Transgressing this basic feature of photography was for Janssen a fascinating challenge.
Janssen was born in Paris, in 22 February 1824. He became handicapped by a childhood. Pierre Jules César Janssen studied mathematics and physics at the faculty of sciences at the university of Paris. He taught at the lyceum Charlemagne in 1853, and in the school of architecture 1865-71, but his energies were mainly devoted to various scientific missions entrusted to him He became very quickly fascinated with the spectro- scopic work of Gustav Kirchhoff and Robert Bunsen. Under their influence, the young man began his search on the solar spectrum in 1862 and showed in particular that certain lines of the spectrum are due to the steam of the Earth’s atmosphere. He studied the work of John William Draper, who took a photograph of the moon in 1840. His son, Henry Draper, later became the first person to photograph the Orion Nebula in 1880, which was essentially the first deep sky photograph.
In 1857–58, he worked in Peru on the determination of the magnetic equator and in 1861–62 and 1864, he studied telluric absorption in the solar spectrum in Italy and Switzerland.
In 1867 he conducted optical and magnetic experi- ments at the Azores, successfully observing both transits of Venus, the first in 1874 in Japan, and the second of the 1882 transit at Oran in Algeria. He took part in a long series of solar eclipse expeditions, e.g., to Trani (1867), Guntoor (1868), Algiers (1870), Siam (1875), the Caroline Islands (1883), and to Alcosebre in Spain (1905).
At the Azores (1867) he examined magnetic and topographical conditions. In 1868 Janssen went to India to observe a total eclipse of the Sun. He was unable to correlate certain lines in the solar spectrum with wavelengths of any known elements. English scientist Norman Lockyer made the same discovery of a new, unknown element and reported it simultaneously to the French Academy of Sciences.
An intrepid traveler in spite of his infirmity, Janssen traveled to Peru, Italy, Switzerland, Algeria (which he reached in a balloon from Paris besieged by the Prussian army in 1870) and finally to Guntur, India.
At this great Indian eclipse of 1868 he demonstrated the gaseous nature of red prominence, and devised a method of observing it under ordinary daylight condi- tions. One main purpose of his spectroscopic inquiries was to answer the question whether the Sun contained oxygen or not. An indispensable preliminary was the virtual elimination of oxygen-absorption in the Earth’s atmosphere, and his bold project of establishing an observatory on the top of Mont Blanc was prompted by a perception of the advantages to be gained by reducing the thickness of air through which observations would be made. This observatory, the foundations of which were fixed in the snow that covers the summit to a depth of ten meters, was built in September 1893, and Janssen, in spite of his sixty-nine years, made the ascent and spent four days taking observations. On August 18 1868 of that same year, while observing an eclipse of the Sun in India, he noticed a bright yellow line with a wavelength of 587.49 nm in the spectrum of the chromospheres of the Sun. Janssen was at first ridiculed since no element had ever been detected in space before being found on Earth. On October 20 of the same year, English astronomer Norman Lockyer also observed the same yellow line in the solar spectrum and concluded that it was caused by an unknown element after unsuccessfully testing to see if it were some new type of hydrogen. Since it was near the Fraunhofer D line he later named the new line D3, distinguishing it from the nearby D1 and D2 doublet lines of sodium. He and English chemist Edward Frankland named the element after the Greek word for the Sun god, Helios, and, assuming it was a metal, gave it an -ium ending (a mistake that was never corrected).
Janssen belonged to this group of photographers for whom even considering the respect they have for the medium nd their awareness of tit limits a purely techni- cal relation is not enough. Janssen created his world for registration himself, subordinating its images to certain manual manipulations because of the need to manifest his own creativity.
In 1874, the French government proposed Janssen is the director of a new observatory intended for astro- nomical physics. He accepted the offer and chose the site of Meudon for observatory and in 1876, he collected the remarkable series of solar photographs for his great Atlas de photographies solaires (1904). The first volume of the Annales de l’observatoire de Meudon was pub- lished by him in 1896. Astrophotography is a specialized type of photography that entails making photographs of astronomical objects in the night sky such as planets, stars, and deep sky objects such as star clusters and galaxies. Astrophotography was used to reveal objects that are too faint to observe with the naked eye, as both film and digital cameras can accumulate and sun pho- tons over long periods of time. Astrophotography posed challenges that were distinct from normal photography, because most subjects were usually quite faint and often small in angular size.
Janssen later became director of the observatory on Mont Blanc. His photographer’s of the mountains has interested for the way in which it has involved two main paradigms of historical method, whose results have come together in a very fruitful and complementary manner.
I refer on the one hand, to the concept of the pho- tograph as in effect a container for data from which evidence may be deduced, a classic approach to pho- tographic history; and on the other, to a view of the photograph which owes more to archeology, and pays attention tot the nature of what is to be found with it, irrespective of whether or not there is any primarily photographic connection. However, it depends on each perceiver’s sensibility and imagination how broad and interesting the visual world of Janssen might seem. He died at Meudon by Paris on the 23rd of December 1907.