Edward Bringhurst and Photography
The panorama of Bringhurst’s dogs at Rockwood illustrates two continuing themes throughout his photographs in the archive. One is his pride in his material possessions, specifically his dogs and land, and the second is his skill as a photographer. Being of significant wealth in America allowed Bringhurst to pursue a variety of activities of prestige, especially that of dog breeding. He focused on breeding Great Danes for show competitions.
His development of amateur photography skills corresponds to his interest competitive dog breeding, as it was the best method to display prized dogs to others far away. To breed dogs for display, as opposed to utility is a form of dominating the animal. Having enough money and time to not only breed but photograph animals demonstrates wealth. This domination is present in other photographs by Bringhurst.
His focus on his house in the winter forms a narrative to his ability to overcome nature at its harshest. The framing of the house, so that it appears to be located higher than the viewer, makes it imposing. One notices how small they are in comparison to his home, his private area. It is important to note the power lines in the photograph. At the time this image was taken (c.1898-1902) most of America had not been electrified. It was a sign of modernity and upper class status to adapt to using electricity as opposed to gas lighting. Framing the left side of the photograph with the power line is a deliberate inclusion to show the high standings of the Bringhursts.
That he had the time and money to practice photography as a hobby also demonstrates his financial success and intelligence. The prints in the album I examined were gelatin based, that is to say that the silver (the material the image was printed onto) was suspended in a glossy coat over the paper.
This method was less than thirty years old at the time of the photograph meaning that Bringhurst had access to the new technology and the technical prowess to use it. Through his photographs, one can create an image of Bringhurst as a man proud of his power and station in life.