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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Madison County, Montana: 1942

Madison County, Montana: 1942

Shepherd with his horse and dog on Gravelly Range, Madison County, Montana. August 1942. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Russell Lee.

 

Shepherd or Sheep Herder

Don't ask me why but out Montana/Idaho way, all the locals call them "sheep herders" not "shepherds." Many of them are of Basque heritage as this gent looks to be.

Late eighties I worked in the Forest Service and would run into these gents all the time, many spoke barely a word of English. Alone out in the middle of nowhere for months at a time, looked pretty rough.

English Shepherd

They are great dogs. I am a big fan. There is one in the True Blood series. It's the one who the shape-shifter (bar-owner) character turns into.

Horse, Dog and Man

The character in the man's face is so deep and quiet. He has seen hard life and probably served in WW1 but returned to finish his life in solitude with his solid horse and faithful dog. Look how the dog is waiting for his master to move.

What an incredible photo! Thank you so much.

4x5

For what it's worth they say either EASTMAN -- SAFETY -- KODAK 62 or EASTMAN -- SAFETY -- KODAK 3 along one edge.

4 X 5

Thanks for that info, Dave! It's full-frame, not enlarged. Love it!

The scan is digital, of course, as a previous poster said. But no 35mm negative, even a digital image, could be enlarged so beautifully. I dunno what the pixel count would have to be on a 4 X 5 studio camera to equal this. It might not be possible.

Kodachrome 4x5

Yes, this was a 4x5 Kodachrome transparency, scanned at 1800 dpi and then way downsized. I believe they also made 5x7 and 8x10 sizes at the time.

Probably Shot With a 4 X 5

The lack of grain in the original at such a huge size shows this picture wasn't shot even with anything as "small" as the old Kodak 620 film size, a bit larger than 120. It probably was shot with a 4-inch by 5-inch camera — maybe even an 8 X 10 because the shot looks like it might be commercial. It could be a glass transparency.

In 1942, the best (fastest) ASA (ISO) rating of color film would have been about 20, maybe 25, which would contribute to the photo's lack of grain.

Supporting this is the relatively short depth of field seen with the soft background focus. It wasn't shot at ƒ16, 11 or 8. Probably ƒ4.5 because of the slow film. ƒ2.8, if the lens could open that wide — which I doubt — likely would have thrown the background more out of focus.

But the foreground depth of field remains sharp. Because of that I think the print, even as it stands, is an enlargement, furthering my 4 X 5 lack-of-grain contention. The foreground is really hardly any further back than the subjects are. It's too sharp. The camera, I'd bet, is a Graflex.

No evidence of fill flash, which makes sense because the flashbulbs would have been white. Blue bulbs for proper color balance (if it was considered) would have been rare, if they existed.

A few large-format photography sites are on the web, so the era isn't dead yet.

Anonymous Tipster: have you

Anonymous Tipster: have you ever been in the high country of Montana early in the day? You'd best have a pretty good coat available; because, my friend: it gets a little chilly there. Those people that live, farm, and ranch out there are nobody's fools.

A thousand words

Awesome photo .. Sad to know it was so long ago.

"Glotting"

Sometimes a person just can't help but glot.

Film?!?! I don't think so!!!!!

Hey guys - You can stop your glotting over the "wonderful film" photo. Get real! This isn't a film photo! It's digital. The film print has been scanned in order to even show it on this website. All the photos you see on the web are "digital" images.

Shazam!

Shepherd, Horse and Man

The dog appears to be an English Shepherd--a common farm dog in the US through the 50's. This one is a Sable. The Black and Whites look like Border Collies and they are a sort of Collie, but vastly different in temperament. They are a very intelligent dog, often noted to be able to work on their own. They sort of take you over so you can't work without them too.

Many of us have English Shepherds today as all purpose farm dogs, but the numbers are small and this breed is going the way of farms. . . .

The picture really needs to read: Shepherd, his horse and man. Clint Eastwood will play the Man in an upcoming documentary. . . .

baaaaaahhh

what is digital? The photo is a masterpiece. A digital camera is a paint by number. This is art.

Going back to film

What you said the other day is right- digital still can't touch an image like that. I'm getting my 35mm back out and buying some good transparency film.

Looking at this you can feel the starchy stiffness of those jeans, the soft suede of that lambskin coat, and you can hear that dog just whining a little bit. Incredible.

Hey, why's he wearing a big heavy coat in August anyway?

What a wonderful photo, look

What a wonderful photo, look at the depth of field, just a beautiful portrait.

Woof.

My sister had a dog, Shannon, that looked just like this one. Memories ...

beautiful dog. Really!

beautiful dog. Really!

 
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