Mountaineer, Explorer, Surveyor, Mapmaker, Author – Brad Washburn is known as all of these, but equally compelling has been his role as a dramatic landscape photographer.
Washburn visited many wild regions of the globe – including the Alps, remote Alaska, the Grand Canyon, even Mount Everest – but his work in the White Mountains has a special meaning to all in the Northeast.
His first book – in 1926 – was a guidebook to the Presidential Range, and one of his more recent works is the marvelous map of Mount Washington and its neighbors. His photographic rendering of the area is also remarkable, and among these works is his 1937 portfolio of aerial photographs of the White Mountains.
These photographs capture the White Mountain landscape as few ever have. Their stark black-and-white tonalities, their sharp focus, and their broad sweep bring forth the boldness of the mountains and valleys of the region. They are both geographic document and artistic statement.
Aerial photography has its challenges and perils. A typical method for Brad's photo trips was to remove an airplane door and to secure his camera and himself to the plane; exceptionally warm clothing was critical, especially in wintry conditions.
Brad and Barbara Washburn have donated the complete portfolio of 63 negatives from the 1937 Washburn Collection to the Observatory. Their purpose is philanthropic: to provide a unique resource to support the work of the private, non-profit Mount Washington Observatory. "This is the gift that keeps on giving," as Brad described it when he and Barbara made the gift in June of 2004.
The images on this website have been drum scanned from the original negatives to a digital file. All of these images can be ordered in print form in a variety of sizes, framed or unframed.
The 1937 Washburn Collection represents an unusual opportunity to own a piece of White Mountains art and history, and to support the work of a well-established White Mountains scientific and educational institution. Thank you for your order!