This sunny, postcard perfect Thanksgiving morning encourages reflection on the people, places and activities for which we are grateful. With bluebird skies overhead, wispy mist drifting off of Lake Champlain’s silky surface, and warming temperatures it’s easy to appreciate this majestic location we call home.
But part of the unique character which enriches life in Essex, New York, is the Adirondack region’s many riches. Few have better catalogued this natural and cultural heritage than Seneca Ray Stoddard whose images, guidebooks and maps helped transform American’s understanding of (and appreciation for) the Adirondack region.
Seneca Ray Stoddard (1844–1917) was an American landscape photographer known for his photographs of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. He was also a naturalist, a writer, a poet, an artist, and a cartographer. His writings and photographs helped to popularize the Adirondacks.
He was best known for his guidebook, The Adirondacks: Illustrated, published in 1873, revised and reprinted through 1914, and the first tourist map of the Adirondacks, published in 1874. In 1878, Stoddard produced a topographical survey of the Adirondacks. In early 1892, he was invited to give an illustrated lecture to the New York State Legislature that was influential in the creation of the Adirondack Park. (Wikipedia)
Derek Muirden — who’s Roadside Adventures so artfully blend sleuthing and laid-back storytelling — guides you through some of the challenges and accomplishments which define Seneca Ray Stoddard’s enduring Adirondack legacy.
[Seneca Ray Stoddard] left home at the age of 6 and painted decorative scenes on the walls of railroad passenger cars. After these humble beginnings a brighter future lay ahead for Seneca Ray Stoddard, who was among the first to tell the world about the Adirondack Wilderness. Now, a new exhibit of Stoddard’s stunning Photographic career is being presented at the New York State Museum in Albany. (Borderless North)
Although Seneca Ray Stoddard is remembered primarily for showcasing the Adirondack wilderness, Muirden is intrigued by his focus on people interacting with the natural environment. I too am drawn to Stoddard’s awareness that human inhabitants are an important component of the Adirondacks, and that documenting people’s Adirondack interaction is a persuasive means to create relevance and interest in preserving the wilderness: “It was a wilderness worth sharing with the curious traveler from around the world.”
Muirden’s tour of Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks with Craig Williams (Curator of History, New York State Museum in Albany) offers an enticing invitation to visited the exhibition at the Crossroads Gallery until Sunday, February 24, 2013.
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