Crystal Falls, Cascade Creek

Crystal Falls

Description

This photograph was taken by Jackson during a Congressionally funded survey of the Yellowstone area, led by Dr. Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden, a geologist. Amongst the other collaborators Hayden brought with him was painter Thomas Moran, whose friendship with Jackson influenced the photographer's compositional choices, and vice versa. After the survey was complete, when Hayden had returned to Washington and was lobbying Congress to designate land around Yellowstone as a public park, he used both Moran's paintings and Jackson's prints to show the natural wonders of the area.

The rounded top of this print mimics a technique that had previously been used in paintings to give the effect of a windowed view. There are some elements of traditional pictorial framing, with the trees on the right giving the composition an aspect of the picturesque. Additionally, the centering of the falls and the creek as they run toward the viewer is a conventional compositional choice. However, certain aspects of the print give a sense of unease. Though the rounded top helps frame the scene, in doing so it shrinks the sky to a tiny portion of the print and cuts off many of the tree tops. There is even more tension created between the aspects of light and shadow; the bright white of the waterfall contrasts with the shadowy foreground. There is almost a mirrored effect between the waterfall and the vertical, linear shadow that punctures the painting's foreground, created by an unknown source. This unease forces the viewer to confront the wildness of the location, the tension between the taming of Hayden's expedition and the limitations of that effort.

MetaData

Dublin Core

Title

Crystal Falls, Cascade Creek

Subject

Yellowstone, photograph, waterfall

Description

This photograph was taken by Jackson during a Congressionally funded survey of the Yellowstone area, led by Dr. Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden, a geologist. Amongst the other collaborators Hayden brought with him was painter Thomas Moran, whose friendship with Jackson influenced the photographer's compositional choices, and vice versa. After the survey was complete, when Hayden had returned to Washington and was lobbying Congress to designate land around Yellowstone as a public park, he used both Moran's paintings and Jackson's prints to show the natural wonders of the area.

The rounded top of this print mimics a technique that had previously been used in paintings to give the effect of a windowed view. There are some elements of traditional pictorial framing, with the trees on the right giving the composition an aspect of the picturesque. Additionally, the centering of the falls and the creek as they run toward the viewer is a conventional compositional choice. However, certain aspects of the print give a sense of unease. Though the rounded top helps frame the scene, in doing so it shrinks the sky to a tiny portion of the print and cuts off many of the tree tops. There is even more tension created between the aspects of light and shadow; the bright white of the waterfall contrasts with the shadowy foreground. There is almost a mirrored effect between the waterfall and the vertical, linear shadow that punctures the painting's foreground, created by an unknown source. This unease forces the viewer to confront the wildness of the location, the tension between the taming of Hayden's expedition and the limitations of that effort.

Creator

William Henry Jackson, American, 1843-1942

Source

J. Paul Getty Museum (Getty Museum)

Date

1871

Contributor

Griffin Berlin

Rights

Public domain

Relation

Photographs

Format

50.2 x 39.8 cm (19 3/4 x 15 11/16 in.)

Language

En-US

Type

Photograph

Identifier

84.XM.494.6

Coverage

Alternative Title

Crystal Falls

Date Created

February 22, 2018

Date Modified

March 16th, 2018

Access Rights

Public domain. Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Medium

Albumen silver print

Bibliographic Citation

http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/40512/william-henry-jackson-crystal-falls-cascade-creek-american-1871/

Spatial Coverage

Yellowstone

Temporal Coverage

19th Century, 1871

Audience

General audience

Rights Holder

http://www.getty.edu/about/whatwedo/opencontent.html

Citation

William Henry Jackson, American, 1843-1942, “Crystal Falls, Cascade Creek,” Park Culture, accessed March 2, 2021, http://parkculture.org/items/show/193.

Collection

Geolocation