Hero Worship: Darius Kinsey, Photographer 1890 - 1940

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jimgalli, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    "Then I remember a Columbia River Gorge trip. That was one of those deals when just Mother and I went along. And we got so darned impatient. It was a hot day and we were hot, and we had that Franklin Touring car. He wanted to take a picture of the river and he went way up in the dry foothills, and there were rattlesnakes up there. I wonder to this day how he ever escaped without being bitten. Anyway, he went up there and he took a panorama picture, and he really got a bird's-eye view." Darius Kinsey Jr. 1973

    A snippet from Kinsey, Photographer. Not an expensive book, but a must have. Darius Kinsey tramped from one end of Wahington state to the other with an 11X14 Empire State camera and made photographs of the woods and the people working in them for 50 years! He finally fell off a stump in 1940 (age 71) and had to retire. From photographs of him, I would guess his weight at 155 pounds. He wasn't a big man. But the 1114 was the small camera. He also had a mammoth plate 20X24, and a Cirkut.

    Truly, giants roamed the earth in those days. The book has scores of his 11X14 plates to enjoy.
     
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  2. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    When I grew up and went to school in Washington State the history books were filled with pictures of the early days with forests and the men who worked there. I didn't know about him until years later. He had a studio not far from where I live. Look at the web site, do you have a tripod that goes up that high? Do they even make a tripod that goes up that high. Then there is the ladder. The trees were so much bigger then. In the future the only old trees might be in old photographs.
    http://www.whatcommuseum.org/pages/archives/kinsey.htm
     
  3. GregT.

    GregT. Member

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    The University of Washington is home to the Darius Kinsey Photograph Collection that houses 160 of his images in their online digital collection. Click here to view. A truly remarkable man that personifies passion.
     
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  4. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    I think a good name for a tripod would be the Darius,,,,but would it stand up in a wind called Mariah? Thanks Jim G for loaning me the Kinsey book....it is an inspiration.....will get it back to you next week....

    Dave
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Great stuff! I love the handcolored landscapes. Definitely inspiration there to shoot more 11x14".

    Curt--George Losse has a tripod that goes up that high, which he bought from me, which I bought as part of an estate lot from someone who must have been an architectural photographer, judging from the other equipment in the lot. It was a Majestic tripod with a set of extension legs and a rapid center column inside a geared center column and a Majestic geared head on top. I think they still make it. The best thing about it, I thought, was that it had a bubble level vial aligned with each leg. Every tripod should have this feature!
     
  6. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Hum, I'm split over these images. A documentation of the destruction of the forests, does that make me happy? No. To me these are very violent and forceful images and remind me of a rather sickening documentary I saw on deforestation in Argentina last year. Do I think it's an interesting series? Yes, since it is important that these (climate changing) events are documented. Heroe worship? That would be too much. Sorry, not enough American blood in my veins, I guess.
     
  7. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    thats an insulting comment, and I imagine if someone had made a similiarly ethnocentric (condescending nation generalization) about the netherlands, perhaps, youd likely not enjoy or appreciate it.
     
  8. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Jim,

    you have probably owned (or own) at least one item (camera, lens, filmholder) that he did in his lifetime.

    Matt
     
  9. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Could I ask all in the thread to refrain from the obvious an pointless sidetrack we could go on?

    Matt
     
  10. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    agreed matt. I admire the work. the photographer was creating, what looks like, gorgeous images. Recording and capturing fleeting moments in US history. Maybe they are negative or a harmful part of that history. But arent we all trying to capture moments. :smile:

    the comment seemed too nonchalant and rude not too comment in reply. :smile:



     
  11. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Okay - I'll bite my tongue and NOT go on a rant. But let me just say I'm american and FULLY agree with medform norm. The pictures are very hard to look at. For me, it's far more disturbing than Witkin is for some of you. Because it's real and not staged.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    It isn't so much an "American" sensability, as it is a so called "New World" sensability.

    Similar events occurred in Europe, it's just that they occurred long before photography was around to document them.

    I live in British Columbia, and like Washington State this is a part of the world that continues to rely on logging for a significant amount of economic activity. Our culture and history are imbued with much that originated in the logging industry.

    When the Kinsey photographs were taken, the prevailing values were radically different from the prevailing values now. As a result, the logging industry is very different now.

    It is incredibly important that photographs like these remain, because the information they provide to us about what was "normal" includes important lessons for us now.

    The Kinsey photographs are also a powerful argument for taking new photographs, of current circumstances, and taking steps to ensure that they last. Who knows what people 100 years from now might gain from having today's photographs still available.

    As an aside, I particularly like the hand coloured images of Chuckanut Drive. In essaence, that road is unchanged even today, although the trestle railroad below, in the water, is long gone. I would recommend that drive highly .

    Matt
     
  13. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Scootermm,
    I did not mean this as an insulting or condescending comment at all. I am sorry if that offended you or anyone else. I just wanted to point to the fact that as a European I don't share a fondness that seems to exist in America , where the pioneering period and the conquest of the west, the cultivation of the land and the capturing of that impressive time on large format film is concerned. That's simply not part of my historical framework. Of course deforestation happened in Europe as well, only think of Spain. We're as guilty of that as anybody else, which was the point made by the Argentinians in reaction to the pro-forest interviewer. There's no denying that.

    I hope all sentiments are now settled and we can return to the original topic which we all know and love: ULF cameras.
     
  14. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    understandable. misinterpreted. Damn internet communication :smile:

    no harm no foul.

     
  15. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Fer Cryin' out loud! I'm certainly not righteous enough to "judge" what folks did in the woods 100 years ago!!!!!! Mercy! I'm drawn to the spirit of this person who made gorgeous photographs at great effort! I'd like to be like him. And I don't suppose the fact that Europe has been stripped bare for centuries has anything to do with the blood that flows there. Grrrrrrrrrrrr...
     
  16. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Mercy, this guy Kinsey and his wife did some wonderful photographic work. The prints I have seen from original negatives are simply excellent! The 3rd and fourth generation prints from copy negatives look exactly like what they are, only facsimiles of the original images. I have long believed that one of the most difficult subjects to successfully photograph is a black, dirty, grimey,
    steam engine back in the depth of the dark woods. Mr. Kinsey's images of logging locomotives and logging operations is of the highest quality and the prints I have had the pleasure of viewing are as I said above are wonderful. Several of the views I have seen most definitely in my humble opinion qualify on the same level as or perhaps a bit above the "Art" images that I see being made today with the latest equipment. Again, in my opinion he is/was a master of his craft! I would love to have a tripod that would extend as high as the one shown in his photo with his tools. Well different strokes for different folks, I like his work and dedication and if allowed I am going to adopt him and his wife as my
    latest "Hero's" and masters of a very difficult medium. I thank Jim for taking his precious time to introduce me to the Kinsey's. I truly am sorry for anyone
    who cannot see the beauty and value in the Kinsey's well executed photographs of a time in history that was seldom recorded with equal fidility!

    Charlie...............................



    Whoops, I forgot to ask where the Kinsey book was available, I wanna copy!







    .....................................................................................................................................
     
  17. ggriffi

    ggriffi Member

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    Charlie, Thanks to jim galli I bought a copy here



    g
     
  18. ggriffi

    ggriffi Member

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    Just wanted to thank Jim for a heads up on where to get this book. The photos are truly wonderful. I don't have but a couple of "photographers" photography books, I think that this one is a must have.

    g