Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition - Images of the Fair
Photography at the AYPE
The AYPE's official photographer was Frank H. Nowell, who had operated a studio in Nome. Together with a professional staff of at least sixteen he created a large body of beautiful photography. Architecture interiors or exteriors, informational and commercial displays, important persons, and performing groups were documented in great detail. Prints were sold directly and are the primary source of photo images for newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, and postcards. These are usually found as 8x10s but other sizes, sometimes very large, were produced. Many of Nowell's Alaskan images were used for color postcards sold at small booths on the grounds.
The University of Washington has 900 prints, Seattle's Museum of History has over a hundred prints and glass negatives, but the majority of images produced apparently are scattered in institutions across the country, in private hands, or are lost. Nowell images can often be identified by their four digit "X number", as in "X1234". Period 8x10 images bearing numbers like these are quite possibly from the AYPE. Nowell Image
In this photo postcard Pay Streak image published by an unknown photographer, Nowell's studio is the two-story building in the background, to the right of the Ferris Wheel. The Chinese Village is in the left foreground, with the Swedish building in the right foreground. This image was taken from approximately the middle of the present Astronomy-Physics building on the UW campus, looking north.
The University of Washington has very nice close image of the Official Photographer's studio on its web site, showing the staff and their large cameras. Ref As you view this image, note the row of glass positives around the top of the first floor. I have been told that some of these survive today; the last information I have is that they are installed into a house in Eastern Washington.
Also note the building to the right of Nowell's studio. This is the Electric Studio operated by A. J. Park, who also had a studio in downtown Seattle. The glass display frames hold examples of the studio-prop portraits that are commonly found today. (Note that studio-prop portraits were done by other studios and also by Park's downtown studio, even with AYPE markings on the back). Possibly the Park studio was also responsible for a large series of conventional (but rather nice) fairground views, the mysterious series signed "S", but the Park studio definitely published very interesting individual scenes, including activities, on the grounds. These are stamped "MADE BY A.J. PARK, SEATTLE WASH." on the back and are sometimes unusual and desirable. A. J. Park Examples
There are a number of other publishers of photographic postcards and prints, including the Romans Studio, M.L. Oakes, O.T. Frasch, and O.D. Goetze. Some Oakes photo postcards, often of unusual material, are unsigned but usually identified as AYPE and can be identified through title-font comparison to other examples. Goetze's postcard-sized images are found on a variety of paper stocks, often of card weight but with a plain back.
A great deal of personal photography, and possibly some professional photography as well, was done with an AYPE Camera Permit .
The Smithsonian Institution provided a display on the history of Photography in the Government Building. This continued a tradition of photographic history displays at American world's fairs and included "the earliest permanent photographs and.. examples of nearly all the important discoveries and inventions up to the present time.. The collections of color photographs are especially fine.." Ref