Cañon of the Rio Las Animas
Born in Keeseville, New York, Jackson was an ambitious entrepreneur who had a profound influence on the development of commercial landscape photography. Both a photographer and painter, he was commissioned to photograph the Rocky Mountain countryside for Francis V. Hayden’s Geological and Geographic Survey of the Territories in 1870. This project lasted eight summers, and allowed Jackson to photograph extensively throughout the American West. After establishing his Denver studio in 1880, he was offered commissions by Western railroad companies to record the great vistas and natural wonders along routes through the Rockies. Supplied with his own gear-toting locomotive by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, Jackson effectively juxtaposed the drama of the rugged Western landscape with the human ingenuity and technological progress represented by the railroad lines. Here, Jackson’s train is pictured above the plunging canyon of the River of Lost Souls.