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for people who care about the West

Contemporary photographs of 19th century art

Review of "Karl Bodmer's America Revisited" by Robert Lindholm.


Karl Bodmer’s America Revisited
Robert M. Lindholm, W. Raymond Wood
240 pages, hardcover:
University of Oklahoma Press, 2013.

In 1832, just under three decades after Lewis and Clark trekked across North America, another, lesser-known voyage covered similar ground. A group of Europeans led by Prince Maximilian Alexander Philipp of Wied-Neuwied (in what is now Germany) traveled from ­Massachusetts to Montana, then back to New York, accompanied by Swiss artist Karl Bodmer.

In Karl Bodmer’s America Revisited, contemporary photographer Robert Lindholm tracks down and shoots the same vistas and landmarks Bodmer depicted. Each page presents two images side-by-side: Bodmer’s romantic renderings of the past and Lindholm’s photograph of the present landscape. The book winds its way through the pastoral Midwest, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and then to the unusual riverbank formations in central and western Montana. Bodmer was clearly captivated by these towering rocks, and Lindholm’s photographs reveal why: Tall and austere, they still arise from meandering banks to stand like statues, perfectly still and unchanging as the water, and the years, flow by.