For decades, the citizens of the Cody, Wyoming, knew when Jack Richard (1909 – 1992) was photographing the town: His plane flew low, and his photos appeared in the Cody Enterprise. Richard captured celebrations and parades, landslides and earthquakes, Yellowstone and Husky Oil, and the Heart Mountain Relocation Center—the veritable life and times of this area just outside Yellowstone’s East Gate.
Currently housed at the McCracken Research Library of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Jack Richard Photograph Collection includes thousands of images of the Cody-Yellowstone region, with more than 8,000 images available online.
On June 3 at the Center of the West, Dr. Matt Hermes, Bob Richard, and Mack Frost share some of the iconic aerial photographs of Jack Richard, but with a twist—namely, Google Earth. The free talk begins at 7 p.m.
“Bob Richard and I began by assembling a series of aerial photographs of Cody and its environs captured by his father, Jack Richard,” Hermes explains. “Then, we compared and contrasted them with contemporary images developed through Google Earth.
“This presentation is a comparison of Jack Richard’s aerial Cody with our land now,” Hermes continues. “Today’s cameraman won’t lean out the window of a small plane, but focuses through the magic of technology like Google Earth.”
According to Hermes, Richard and Frost plan to take the audience to a secret place on Cedar Mountain; explain the strange markings on the Husky Oil site; and tell the story of an iconic Jack Richard image of a World War II bomber, photographed against the backdrop of Rattlesnake Mountain. “And Bob will convince you there really is a snow horse that signals the onset of spring,” Hermes adds.
Hermes is Research Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering, Clemson University in South Carolina. He received one of the Center’s 2015 – 2016 Resident Research Fellowships, launching the proposal to develop a series of then-and-now Jack Richard photographs. Hermes also contributed his expertise on historic photography and the western surveys to the Center’s current exhibition Yellowstone Discovered: William Henry Jackson’s Lost Prints Reveal the Park for America. Explore more of the Jack Richard Photograph Collection here.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.