November 30, 2017
Timothy H. O’Sullivan, Green River Buttes, Green River, Wyoming, 1872, modern silver gelatin copy print after original albumen silver print, 6 5/16 x 8 9/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 2003.
Similar to the landscape painters of the 19th century, surveyors found transcendence in nature by photographing the vastness of America. Timothy H. O’Sullivan began his photographic career working with Mathew Brady, chronicling the Civil War. After the war, O’Sullivan joined several geological surveys and expeditions capturing the West. This photograph emphasizes the wild and rugged formations of the West, seemingly untouched by man. O’Sullivan was known for a documentary approach blended with a poetic interpretation of the land. The BYU Museum of Art featured an exhibition focusing on O’Sullivan’s work in 2014.
One hundred years after O’Sullivan completed these images, Mark Klett and Gordan Bushaw organized a Rephotographic Survey Project, essentially rephotographing the original images to illustrate the changes within the past hundred years. Today, this same area has numerous phone lines, homes, and is located near a bustling community.