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Bighorn Visions

The Photography of Jessamine Spear Johnson

Bighorn Visions


$29.95, Hardback
ISBN: 978-1-941813-44-7


Born in 1886 to pioneer parents on the eastern front of the Bighorn Mountains, Jessamine Spear Johnson would grow up to document many of the dramatic changes that this region would see over the next century. After first picking up a camera at the age of eleven, Johnson developed into a uniquely gifted artist, all while helping manage the family ranch. Through her photography, Johnson captured the rapid advancements occurring around her, especially from the 1910s through the 1940s.

During these years, a burgeoning dude ranch industry brought new visitors to this remote area and technological changes reshaped the nature of work. At the same time, the Crows and Cheyennes in the region struggled with being confined to reservations as they sought new livelihoods to support their families, all while maintaining old traditions and establishing new ones. As Bighorn Visions shows, Johnson’s camera captured not only the day-to-day nuances of ranch life but also changing gender norms, transformations on the reservation, and the abundant natural wonders of northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana.

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