• William Jefferson Carpenter

William Jefferson Carpenter

William Jefferson Carpenter (1861 - 1925)

January 19 to March 30, 2013

We are so accustomed to historical photographic images that we tend to take them for granted and few of us give thought or recognition to the men (and women) who captured the images. As a matter of fact such small attention was paid to many of these photographers that very little is know about them. Historian and guest curator Roger Boulet spent the past number of years researching the life and times of one such photographer :
“At the height of the mining development boom in the Boundary-Kootenay district beginning in the mid-1890s , a number of photographers, resident or itinerant, captured the changing landscape. Foremost among these was the American photographer William Jefferson Carpenter who arrived in Rossland sometime in 1896 or early 1897. The Tennessee-born Carpenter had spent a few years in the mining districts of southern Colorado and was well acquainted with mountainous terrain, isolated mines and new frontier towns. When he arrived in Rossland he was associated with George Edward Millar, but the photographs soon were identified as those of Carpenter & Co., and it was no doubt Carpenter who was the driving force behind the association, even when Millar opened a studio in
Greenwood (1899-1902).”
It should be remembered that these early photographers were also
technological experimenters
as well as inventors.
“Carpenter began to experiment with the panoramic format while in Rossland. Early photographs in the collection of the Rossland Museum show that Carpenter was beginning to explore the panorama by juxtaposing and mounting single prints. No doubt the invention of the Cirkut Camera
(patented in 1904 and widely available by 1905) assisted Carpenter in his new photographic interest. One panorama of Spokane, copyrighted in 1903, would suggest that he might have been working with the equipment before it was patented.”

We would like to thank Joyce Austen of the Rossland Historical Museum and Archives and Sarah Benson of the Trail Archives for the loan of the original William Jefferson Carpenter panoramic photographs in this exhibition.