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Seeing Salt Lake City: The Legacy of the Shipler Photographers 
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Product Details 
190 pages 
Signature Books 
Published 2001 
Publisher description 
For 100 years the Shipler family all but dominated Utah photography. The first of the family to get a foothold in Salt Lake was James Shipler, a pioneer who left his Pittsburgh camera shop in 1889 to travel west, never to return. When he died in 1937, the Salt Lake Tribune called him "the dean" of Utah photographers. His son Harry, grandson Bill, and great-grandson Hollis succeeded him in the business.  
Fortunately for modern connoisseurs, some 100,000 of their glass-plate and film negatives survive in the Utah State Historical Society archives. Of these, 175 are reproduced in this book as full-page images, comprising a fitting tribute to the family and to the city they loved to photograph.  
The earliest image harks back to 1903—a view of the Fremont School on Third West, a surrey parked outside awaiting its owner. The most recent photo dates from 1940, a row of Ford coupes outside the Crystal Palace Market on South Temple Street. In between the two is an array of beautiful and informative portraits of Salt Lake City as it emerged to become a regional capital.  
As one example of the Shiplers' legacy, the elevated view of the Salt Lake City and County Building to the left was taken by Harry Shipler in 1913. Although the reproduction on the web is not as good as it could be, you can see a hint of the depth and clarity of the image, and how the perspective and framing accentuate the Romanesque architecture. Notice also how inviting the landscaping appears from this angle.  
We would expect to be able to detect hints regarding the time period from changing fashions, but few are prepared for the extravagance of the three-foot-wide merry widow hats that women of the 1910s balanced against the wind (pp. 46, 48, 58). And it is interesting to see the elegance of the horse-drawn buggies (p.7) and the pride of their owners and drivers compared to the little motorized carriages (p. 45) that were more of a novelty at first than a serious means of transportation.  
In these and other images, it was the Shiplers' talent to create mood and to capture a moment in time that conveys a sense of story. Sometimes in a facial expression, and other times in the pause of a street worker, or in the stopped action of the shutter, or even in the haunting look of a deserted city—all imply activity that is unseen, as well as a hint of human emotion.  
For current residents of Salt Lake City, there may be further significance in the photos as they find themselves glimpsing ghosts of familiar locations—places they pass every day—in bygone buildings and the people who inhabited them. To stand at such a place and to notice the transformation is to seem to be transported into another dimension.  
The most immediate impression that people gain from the photos is the city's beauty. The architecture is impressive, the people seem content. By contrast, today's ubiquitous commercial strip malls and parking lots underscore what has been lost over time in the demolition of many of the grand old edifices. It would be difficult not to notice the decline of the cityscape since its heyday, documented here, or to remain indifferent to historical preservation. But one can also enjoy the photographs for their own sake and simply appreciate the photographers' artistry.

This photographer...

Seeing Salt Lake City: The Legacy of the Shipler Photographers 
Alan Barnett (Author); & Ted L. Wilson (Foreword)
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