Wild Beauty defines the artistic image of the Columbia River Gorge

Wild Beauty Book CoverI recently received my copy of Wild Beauty which is a book that has an accompanying show at the Portland Art Museum. I came to know this wonderful book because of my friend Terry Toedtemeier, who unfortunately recently passed. Terry was an amazing person, photographer and historian – without whom this book would not be what it is – an amazing collection of photographs created by a group of photographers whose images mesmerized generations of people by their uniquely inspired presentation of the beauty that the Columbia River Gorge is famous for.

Spanning 90 years of expeditions into the Gorge, Wild Beauty showcases what has to be the who’s who in Northwest landscape photography:  Carleton Watkins, William Henry Jackson, Albert H. Wulzen, Benjamin A. Gifford, Darius Kinsey, Lily White and Ray Atkeson just to name a few. This book distills what I love about the place into a series of photographs that are to me a joy to peruse and examine. Some of the images I have been lucky enough to have seen in person, yet the majority I had never seen and some of the photographers I had not heard of. Having spent a great deal of time hanging around Terry some 10 years ago now, I took everything that he was willing to give and took to the Gorge and made it my second home for almost 4 years before moving out of state.

If you have the chance to see the exhibition at the museum I would recommend it, and I myself wish I was able to do the same. The exhibition ends January 11th, and I am 2,642 miles away, so unless I accidentally get dunked in a vat of toxic waste and become the Flash it looks to be very unlikely that I will be in town before then.

I have gone through cover to cover 3 or 4 times now, just taking in the imagery, and it makes me realize how much I miss the place I call home and how much I miss my friend. This book is one of my favorites of all time, and I have to thank Terry, John and everyone at the Northwest Photography Archive who made this happen.

As a side note, I put together a small list of my favorite places on umapper, so if you are interested check them out and maybe the next time I am in town I will bump into you there.

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