Perfect Gems of Photography, Adirondack Landscapes: Seneca Ray Stoddard & Jesse Sumner Wooley

October 7, 2023 - January 7, 2024

Seneca Ray Stoddard’s greatest achievement as a photographer was his landscape and scenic work. Unlike most of his contemporaries, who concentrated on studio portrait work, Stoddard focused most of his images on the out-of-doors, and as a result he is one of the pioneers in the field of American landscape photography. Like Stoddard, Wooley had the ability to compose pure landscape views with the expressive effects found in paintings.  Wooley began to use wide-format photography while he was resident photographer for the Silver Bay Association between 1908 and 1923. He produced landscape photographs that captured the scenic beauty of Lake George and its natural environs. Together their landscape photographs are a stunning record of the Adirondacks natural beauty.

Photography, the taking and making of photographs, has a rich history in the Adirondacks. Even more than art, photographs documented and promoted the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York as a wilderness preserve, a destination for tourists, a paradise for sportsmen, a home for generations, a bounty of natural resources, a laboratory for environmental thinking, an inspiration for artists, photographers, writers, philosophers, and historians.

Photographs lured people by the thousands to the place and conversely brought the place, in published and unpublished form, to even greater numbers elsewhere.  Cameras documented everyday life and people at work and play as well as the beauty of the Adirondack mountainous landscape on a scale unprecedented in a place where access was challenging by its remoteness. While making a fine art painting required training and expertise, taking a photograph could be done by amateurs as well as professionals.

View a virtual tour of this exhibit here.