Monday, March 17, 2014

Celebrating photographer A. A. Forbes

Jon Klusmire
Inyo Register

While digging into the history of the Saline Valley Salt Mine and Tram, brothers Tim and Brian Waag uncovered what they consider a forgotten gem: pioneer photographer A.A. Forbes.

The brothers have been researching and photographing the remains of the famous Death Valley salt tram for almost a decade, and during their investigations in local museums and libraries, they kept running across excellent photos of the Owens Valley with the inscription, “A.A. Forbes,” said Tim Waag. “Our motto is, if we find something interesting, we buy the book,” he noted, but in the case of A.A. Forbes, “there was no book, so we’ll make the book.”

In this case, the “book” is a detailed blog about Forbes, who operated a photo studio in Bishop between 1902 and 1916.

Local history buffs are well aware of Forbes’ work, since his photos comprise one of the major photographic records of the time. However, Forbes came to Bishop near the end of his career. Starting in the late 1880s, Forbes photographed a significant swath of the history of the western United States, from Oklahoma and Arizona to California.

It is that extensive body of work the Waags highlight at