Our Art / William Henry Jackson / Grand Canyon of the Colorado River

Grand Canyon of the Colorado River by William Henry Jackson
Grand Canyon of the Colorado River by William Henry Jackson

Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, 1883

William Henry Jackson

A tiny figure at the center of this image looks out across the breathtaking expanse of the Grand Canyon. It’s as if we’re standing on the precipice with him, looking through the telescope — yet we can see the contrast of human and natural scale. The adventurer is dwarfed by the impossible grandeur of the rocky outcropping above him and the chasm and river below. The image’s contrast adds to its drama; the rocks are sharply focused, with etched shadows, while the expanse of the canyon is overexposed, as if to convey its faraway vastness.

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Credit
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
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