Grand Canyon, AZ: Kolb Brothers, 1913. Large silver gelatin [35.5 cm 28 cm] / [14" x 11"] with Kolb mark in the lower right corner. Strong contrasts. Item #6975
Portrait of a Native American man wearing a shell necklace in a blanket. The legendary Kolb Brothers, Emery & Ellsworth, opened their studio in 1904, perched on the rim of the Grand Canyon (it is the building that looms over the top of the Bright Angel Trail). The building is still standing, but is now operated as a museum and gallery. They took countless images of the Canyon and the Colorado River below.
Ellsworth and Emery Kolb were brothers, born in Pennsylvania, interested in photography and the 'Wild West.' In the winter of 1911, they made the first motion picture of a river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers, where the brothers were repeatedly tossed into the river by their bucking boats. At one memorable point, as Ellsworth struggled to stay afloat in the roiling Colorado, Emery captured the moment on film before rushing to his brother's rescue.
Photographing the Grand Canyon was not an easy task in the early 1900s. Patience, determination, and physical strength were required to deal with cumbersome equipment and unforgiving conditions. Whenever possible, Emery and Ellsworth used burros to transport the bulky equipment on their Canyon explorations. But their best pictures were often taken in locations inaccessible to the animals, and they relied on their own brawn and balance to carry the cameras while climbing the Canyon walls, these exploits soon earned them the title 'daring photographers of the Grand Canyon.'.