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Laton - L A Huffman

Birth place or City of origin:
State of origin:
Last known City: Miles City
Last known State: MT
Start/Birth date: 1854
Death/End date: 1931

Laton A. Huffman traveled the western range from Miles City, Montana with his 50- pound camera documenting the spirit and culture of the frontier. Commonly viewed as the Charlie Russell of western photography. Using a 50-pound camera, cumbersome chemistry and photographic skills learned from his father back in Iowa, Huffman spent 35 years photographing in extraordinary detail, the last frontier of the American West. Huffman’s body of work today offers us an intimate glimpse into what the photographer himself called a chapter forever closed. Huffman opened a studio in Miles City, where he remained for the majority of his life.

On a bitterly cold December morning in 1878, 24-year old Laton Alton Huffman arrived by open buckboard at Fort Keogh in the Montana Territory to become post photographer. Although his predecessor had gone broke, Huffman took over his abandoned studio with great enthusiasm. Using a 50-pound camera, cumbersome chemistry and photographic skills learned from his father back in Iowa, Huffman spent the next 35 years photographing in extraordinary detail, the last frontier of the American West. Although he never achieved much financial success during his lifetime, Huffman’s body of work today offers us an intimate glimpse into what the photographer himself called “a chapter forever closed.” Huffman eventually opened a studio in nearby Miles City, where he remained for the majority of his life. After the passing of the Indian and the buffalo, Huffman’s interest was captured by the huge herds of cattle brought to Montana Territory from Oregon and Texas to feast on the native grasses, and the cowboys who came with them. Huffman frequently joined roundups, traveling with his camera mounted on his “four-footed tripod” (his horse). He went on his last great roundup just after the turn of the century, right before the flood of new settlers, who with their barbed wire and plows turned the buffalo grass “wrong side up.”

 

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