Darius Kinsey: Big Trees at Hallie Ford Museum

Salem, Ore. - Darius Kinsey (1869-1945) was an important turn-of-the-century Washington photographer who, with his wife, Tabitha, chronicled the logging industry in northwest Washington from the 1890s to 1940. A small exhibition of Kinsey's work, Darius Kinsey: Big Trees, will open May 14 and continue through Aug. 13 in the Study Gallery at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University.

Kinsey was born in Missouri in 1869 and at age 20 moved to Snoqualmie, Wash. A photography studio in Snoqualmie drew his curiosity and in 1890 he bought his first camera and embarked on a 50-year career as a professional photographer.

Although his works are in some of the most distinguished photography collections in the United States, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Kinsey's photographs were not intended as works of art but as records of the people, places, and industries of the time. His portraits of loggers and homesteaders are remarkable for their clarity and verisimilitude, while his photographs of mountains, glaciers, rivers, waterfalls and deep forests capture nature at its most pristine.

Among his most popular subjects were scenes from the various phases of the logging industry, from the first cut of a giant cedar tree to the skid roads and lumber mills of rural Washington. Other subjects included transportation, such as the oxen, steam donkeys, sleds, and steam locomotives that were used to move the logs from the deep forests to the lumber mills, and architecture, such as homesteads, hotels, churches, trestles, and other structures made from the giant cedar trees logged in Washington and Oregon.

Photographs have been selected from the vast collection of the Whatcom Museum of History and Art in Bellingham, Wash., which acquired more than 5,000 Kinsey negatives in the early 1980s. Additionally, the exhibition includes one of his cameras, his timer, a stereoscope with several Kinsey stereoscopic views, Kinsey postcards, and a host of related ephemera.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State Street (corner of State and Cottage Streets) in downtown Salem near the campus of Willamette University. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed on Sunday and Monday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children under 12 are admitted free and Tuesday is an admission-free day. For further information, please call 503-370-6855.