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Pioneering Design

Published in Affinity Groups

Based on the era between 1847-1896, the Pioneering Design Affinity Group will serve as the foremost group to explore places of importance associated with the earliest period of design in Utah.



The Rephotography of George Edward Anderson's Environmental Portraits

George Edward Anderson 1897.jpg300

George Edward Anderson 1897

By Peter Goss

Friday, June 17, 2016

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

814 East 100 South

Salt Lake City, UT, 84103

This is a FREE event!  No ticket or registration required. 

About the Exhibit:

The exhibition is based on researching the extensive collection of George Edward Anderson negatives in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Once the existing sites were identified they were rephotographed using a large format (5"x7") wooden field camera, not too unlike the type of camera used by Anderson. Each of the framed pairs of photographs are contact prints: the contact of the Anderson's original negative and the contact print of the rephotograph.

About the George Edward Anderson, by Peter Goss:

George Edward Anderson (1860-1928) was born in the Avenues area of Salt Lake City. As a teenager he apprenticed to Charles R. Savage, one of Utah’s and the West’s best known photographers. At the age of seventeen he established his own photographic studio with the help of two of his brothers. In 1881 he moved to Springville, Utah and established a gallery there and shortly thereafter in Manti, Utah. He would later establish more branch galleries traveling between them and other locales either by train or in a horse drawn wagon complete with a portable studio. This allowed him to take studio portraits of people, but he also posed families outside their dwellings. The resulting photograph recorded not only the families and the architecture of the residence, but often some of the family’s material possessions. Anderson’s work was brought to the public’s attention with the publication of Rell Francis’s book, Photographs of George Edward Anderson (1979). Like his contemporary, photographer Solomon D. Butcher of Nebraska who posed families outside their sod dwellings on the plains, Anderson was also striving to make a statement as a photographer and about the lives his subjects were living. Most of his photographs were made in Utah County and the central Utah counties of Carbon, Emery, Sanpete and Sevier. The majority of Anderson’s plate glass negative collection, and his diaries, reside in the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, and original prints of Anderson’s photographs are in hands of collectors and individual families.

About Peter Goss:

Peter L. Goss, Ph. D., Hon. A. I. A., an emeritus professor of architectural history at the College of Architecture + Planning, University of Utah, has written on nineteenth and twentieth century American architecture and is the co-author of Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847-1940. He studied photojournalism at The Newhouse School of Journalism, Syracuse University while pursuing a Master’s degree in Library Science and then minored in fine art photography at Ohio University during his studies for a Ph. D. in Comparative Arts. He has photographically documented the sheep industry in Utah’s Sanpete Valley as well as sheep operations in Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming for the Western Folklife Center, Elko, Nevada. Professor Goss has served on the Board of State History, is a Fellow of the Utah State Historical Society, and received the Lucybeth Rampton Award in recognition of his lifetime commitment to historic Preservation from Utah Heritage Foundation.

About Rephotography:

The concept of rephotography is an accepted practice among documentary photographers and usually results in pairs of photographs (original and contemporary). These pairs may be considered from a number of viewpoints such as the effects of time and change. One of the most well-known rephotographic projects is Mark Klett's Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project (1984). Klett and his team of assistants successfully rephotographed the western sites found in the late nineteenth century work of photographers William Henry Jackson and Timothy O'Sullivan. Another example includes Peter Goin's Stopping Time: A Rephotographic Survey of Lake Tahoe (1992) in which the photographer redocumented both nineteenth and twentieth century views of the lake and surrounding towns. Camilo Jose Vergara's Unexpected Chicago (2001) involves the rephotography of neighborhood architectural studies. He systematically records the process of "deindustrialization" of Chicago by photographing portions of neighborhoods every three to five years. Milton Rogovin's Tryptychs (1994) is a three-decade documentation of neighbors in Buffalo's Lower West Side. His photographs illustrate various stages in the lives of individuals, couples and families on the streets, in their places of business, and in their homes and apartments. As an architectural historian and documentary photographer I find Anderson's "environmental portraits" important architecturally and culturally and as seen in this exhibition some examples appear to be little changed, while others have received varying degrees of modification to suit different fashions and lifestyles over the intervening 90-100 years. Some of the present owners had a print of the George Edward Anderson photograph and all of the owners were aware of the historical nature of their houses and enjoy living in them.


This project has been financially supported by a creative research grant from the University of Utah’s Faculty Research Committee, and the Utah Humanities Council’s Delmont Oswald Research Fellowship. The Humanities Council grant enabled the exhibition to travel from the Lee Library to the Museum of the San Rafael, Castle Dale, Utah and to the Central Utah Arts Gallery, then located in Ephraim, Utah. It was later exhibited in the Rio Gallery, Denver & Rio Grande Depot, Salt Lake City and the Eastern Gallery, Utah State University Eastern, Price, Utah. The photo archives of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections generously donated the George Edward Anderson contact prints used in the exhibition. Capitol Hill Construction is the host of the exhibition. 

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