Lena Herzog

Lena Herzog’s Long Draw series is a project aimed at restoring the reputation of Friedrich von Egloffstein (1824-1885), a cartographer and artist on the first expedition of the Grand Canyon. Led by Joseph Ives in 1857, the team took a steamboat up the Colorado River to document and map what is now known as the Grand Canyon. While the maps and reports were praised, Egloffstein’s images were scorned; the depictions of sheer cliffs and jagged rocks were nothing like the real interior of the Grand Canyon. His work was dismissed as Gothic-style romanticism that had little relation to reality. When Herzog paired up with Jeremy Miller, a current media fellow at Stanford University, 150 years later, they discovered his drawings and lithographs perfectly matched the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River, 500 miles northeast of the previously assumed location. Using clues from reports, maps, and drawings from the Ives exploration, they sought out Egloffstein’s original locations, photographing the original locations of the sketches, and restoring credibility to his work.

For this specific Canyon photograph, Herzog and Miller sought the location of a drawing entitled Black Cañon, depicting sharp rocks, a turbulent river, and massive canyon walls. After a steep 1,800-foot descent to the river, they found a match. After examining the location at different angles, Herzog photographed a similar vantage point that mimics the original. She then used a developing process on the film that imitates the “etched” feel of the sketch, making the print appear more thee-dimensional.

Photographing primarily in black-and-white film, Lena Herzog often focuses on dramatic landscapes. She is the author of several books, including Tauromaquia, Flamenco, Pilgrims, and Lost Souls. Her work has been reviewed in major publications, such as the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Harper Magazine, in which this photograph was featured.[1]

Alexandra Trimm ’14
Wilson Intern ’12

[1] See: Jeremy Miller & Lena Herzog, “The Long Draw: On the Trail of an Artist Mystery in the American West.” Harper’s Magazine (January 2002), 50-59.