By Bennett Owen
The photographs are every bit as grand as the canyon Emery and Ellsworth Kolb called home –
The pioneers captured these images when the medium was still in its infancy….
…Yet their natural talent produced masterpieces as breathtaking today as they were a century ago.
The brothers settled on the rim of the Grand Canyon at the head of Bright Angel Trail…in a time and landscape where just getting water pure enough to develop prints meant trekking down into the depths of the canyon and back up…often three times per day.
Initially they earned a living taking photographs of tourists.
But their adventuresome spirit soon led them to more daring pursuits…and in 1912, they took on a new medium…moving pictures…and documented their greatest adventure…retracing John Wesley Powell’s perilous journey down the Green and Colorado rivers. The film is still being shown today.
The house and studio they built still stands at the head of Bright Angel Trail. Yes, it’s an eyesore…but a monument to two visionaries of the American West.
Arizona Highways fills in the blanks of their story and this piece is well worth the four minutes.