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Kinsey, Photographer: The Locomotive Portraits

sku: KLOCO-2

Kinsey, Photographer: The Locomotive Portraits

A great gift for your customers, or a beautiful addition to your library

A classic book on railroad logging from Darius Kinsey, with detailed photographs of how loggers perfected the new technology of moving goods by train. Here you’ll find Darius and Tabitha Kinsey’s lifework on display in this volume featuring 53 superb photographs of the logging industry’s steam locomotives, historical essays by John Labbe on each locomotive and the logging operations it served, and excerpts from conversations with some of the oldtime engineers, firemen, and brakemen. Hardcover.

About the Photographer, Darius Kinsey

There is a sense of awe as one realizes the perfection and dedication required to produce these photographs. Darius Kinsey had no meter to measure light in the deep woods, no flashgun to supplement what soft light did filter down; powder, besides being unstable and dangerous, would not have lit the scenes he photographed.

His equipment was bulky and heavy. Mostly, he used an 11x14 Empire State view camera. It could be rested on a tripod that extended to above 12 feet -- so he could get the right angle in photographing men working from springboards above the swell and heavy resin at the butt of a tree. His 20x20 camera required two tripods.

He often hired loggers and village youths to help lug his cameras, tripods, and the glass plates in their wooden cases to the site of a shooting. "Kinsey always wanted to get on top of a high hill, through the brush and stubs and downed timber and everything else. It's bad enough to carry yourself through that trash without lugging a big camera case. . . . Kinsey could never hire the same kid twice. . ." a logger recalled.

Kinsey's eye for light and composition made his photos more than scrapbook snapshots. Those who lived in the Pacific Northwest in the latter part of his career may have had the chance to see four huge Douglas Firs, grouped so tightly they appear almost as a wall, but most of use living now can see such a scene only through Kinsey's 1913 glass plate.

The photo of men slicing a 7-foot Douglas Fir trunk — probably all clear and with a microscopic ring structure —to make stove wood, joins with the shots of log and trestle bridges to become sharp reminders of the wealth of wood in the Northwest's forests. There are photographs of subjects other than trees and loggers throughout the volume: Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, scenes from the Columbia Gorge, homesteads cookhouses, tremendous and archaic machinery. But always, Kinsey returned to recording the magnificent forests and workmen.

Tabitha Kinsey probably did not expect that marriage would result in 50 years of darkroom toil, but it was she who provided the care and skill that have preserved the Kinsey photos to be admired a half-century later. The number of men who can remember the scenes portrayed by the Kinseys has dwindled along with the old-growth forests, but Kinsey, Photographer provides a record of both the woods workers and their environments.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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