Our indexer Dee has finished describing the H.C. Barley photographs, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives. Here’s what she has to say:
- Looking south from the tunnel.
Dear reader, what plans do you have after reading this blog post? I invite you stop what you’re doing (after reading this post), put on your shoes, preferably of the sneaker sort, and run, no, sprint over to the APR Research Room and look at this collection yourself. Do I have your attention? Good. Please take heed.
The online stuff just doesn’t cut it. You’ve got to hold these photos in your own white-gloved hands (not so fashionable, but compulsory), and see them with your own eyeballs to truly appreciate this collection. Stunning. Dimensional, almost three dimensional. The photos pop out at you. True story – while examining some of these photos, I experienced vertigo. The winding rails, the steep cliffs and the high mountains had me holding onto the table and swaying back and forth. The white gloves came in extra handy as I used them to wipe my damp brow.
Okay, not really. But they did make me dizzy and spellbound. Honestly, I have to say these photos made me gasp with glee. They’re breathtaking in an Oooh Ah sort of way.
Photo credit goes to H.C. Barley (also known as Harrie C. and Harry C.) who was hired as the company photographer for the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad in the spring of 1898. He worked for two years documenting the construction and early operation of the 110-mile narrow gauge railway which ran from Skagway, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
Barley was known for his daring, often risking his life to get the perfect photograph of the construction of the railway. Many of the photos show this. I wondered how he could have possibly positioned himself to capture the angle and the proximity of the subject manner? He compromised his safety and was injured at least once for the sake of the shot.
Dear reader, what are you waiting for? Go! These photos await you.
Trestle over Glacier Gorge at the tunnel.
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