'Laton Alton Huffman, Frontier Photographer'

Vintage photographs from local photographer Huffman on display Jan. 5-31

Captured images of the American West during the 19th and 20th centuries will be on display Jan. 5-31 in Preus Library on the Luther College campus.

The show, titled "Laton Alton Huffman, Frontier Photographer," features vintage photographs taken by Laton Alton Huffman. An opening reception, including a brief program on Huffman's life, is 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, in the Hovde Room in Preus Library. The reception and gallery exhibit are open to the public with no charge for admission.

Born in Winneshiek County, Hoffman was most well known as an American photographer of Native American and frontier life. He served as a post photographer at Fort Keogh in the Montana territory, recording priceless photos during a pivotal moment in American history. Hoffman arrived in Montana two years after the Battle of the Little Bighorn and recorded images of Native American life. His work includes portraits of Native Americans and well-known people like Calamity Jane, as well as buffalo herds before hunters decimated their populations and the western way of life around his Montana home. Portraits of Huffman and his photographic studios are also included in the exhibit.

Utilizing oils, watercolors and other processes, Huffman took old and often defective negatives to produce authentic coloring on his photographs. His creative additions where the photos were blurred or imperfect are said to be as near the actual scene as the photography of an artist and eyewitness can depict.

In addition to being found in state capitols, railway headquarters and the Library of Congress, his pictures have been used to illustrate many books and articles on the West. He was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1976, the only photographer to have received that honor.

The original photographs were gifted to the Winneshiek County Historical Society by Huffman's grandson, W.R. Felton. They have been reproduced by Chip Peterson, Peterson Photography of Decorah, which provided in-kind support for the project.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.

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