Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Montana Memories

Evelyn and Ewen Cameron left England in 1889 to raise polo ponies on the plains of eastern Montana.  The venture failed, so this fancy English couple turned to ranching, like the rest of the homsteaders...and Evelyn took up glass plate photography to capture the beauty and the struggles and pay the bills.  It wasn't until 50 years after she died that her work became famous -- when Brooklyn author Donna M. Lucey tracked down her old friend who'd stashed nearly 2,000 of her negatives in her basement.  The resulting book, which, through diary entries and letters, tells Evelyn's transformation from English gentry to frontierswoman, is gorgeous.  (Above: A goshawk that Ewen winged in the fall of 1906 became a long term guest, even riding alongside the cat when the Camerons moved to different ranches in the winter).

Ewen and a mounted grey trumpeter swan taken on June 15, 1914, eleven months before Evelyn died.  These swans were quite rare -- alive or taxidermied; Ewen's was one of only about 20 in the world.

Ewen poses with a pronghorn antelope sometime in the 1890s.


Sheep shearer, Terry, Montana, early 20th century

Self Portrait, 1912

Ewen wanted to train their wolves but gave up on the idea because Evelyn was "too daring" with them, and he worried she would be hurt. He sent them to a zoo at Coney Island. - D.M.L.

5 comments:

A Day That Is Dessert said...

Beautiful! I'm going to have to get that book. So sad that she became recognized after her death.

porter hovey said...

What a stagg! PERFECTION!

Mishka said...

How fun! I'm actually from Montana and while this looks like quite a few books I've seen, their lives are so interesting! I'll have to be sure to look around for this.

Paul Pincus said...

i'm not from montana and have not come across a book like this one ; )

self portrait, 1912 is incredible. i can't stop staring at it.

the last image of ewen and the wolves (and the back-story) is compelling and sweet...and i'm buying this book!

thank you, again!

Lucy said...

What a wonderful looking book, on a wonderful looking blog. That is going straight on my wishlist.