Pioneer Artifacts


Another opportunity came up to photograph at a history museum and I grabbed it! This time the shoot was at the Pioneer Museum in Gunnison, Colorado which houses a massive collection of artifacts … from trains to dolls, and everything in-between. I enjoy photographing these everyday, obsolete subjects … they have an interesting history and story to tell about the people who used them. There was so much to see in fact, it was a bit overwhelming searching for the right objects, and finding angles that would work. Here the items were mostly displayed as collections, neatly lined up, one next to another. Like all museums a hands-off policy as well as signs and tags on many items made it difficult to find subjects that I could isolate in an artistic way. The overhead, fluorescent lighting left a bit to be desired but the ability to use a tripod was a big plus. I started with my macro lens in an area full of typewriters and captured a few close-ups to add to my collection. Old dusty mason jars and milk bottles caught a little bit of light in the barn loft and my eye too. It took some time to pick out favorites from the day and I had fun processing them in black and white, adding in a dash of drama. I hope you enjoy looking at them. Feel free to let me know what you think by clicking the comments link at the end of the post!

‘Milk Bottles Geometric’ © Denise Bush

‘Good Luck Atlas’ © Denise Bush

‘Sewing Machine With Cobwebs’ © Denise Bush

‘Faulty Diction’ © Denise Bush

‘Tricycle In B&W’ © Denise Bush

‘Portrait Of Dolly’ © Denise Bush

‘Royal Keys’ © Denise Bush
click to view larger or order a print

‘Old-fashioned Letters’ © Denise Bush
click to view larger or order a print

‘Train Car Lantern’ © Denise Bush

‘Suspicious Baggage’ © Denise Bush
click to view larger or order a print

40 Responses to “Pioneer Artifacts”

  1. Very cool set of photographs. Great tones in these images, and of course black and white suits the subject matter perfectly. The sewing machine is my favorite of the set. Nice work.

    • Thanks Bob and congrats on being the first to comment! 🙂 I’m glad I included the sewing machine image then. There was a lot of clutter and it was very difficult shooting in that area.

  2. Excellent set especially in black and white. You captured some terrific details. I love the mason jars and typewriter…really I love them all, Denise!

  3. 5 roberta zurbach

    Denise I asked Sandy to tell you when she visited how much I enjoy your photos. Loved all of these but Miss Dolly is really eerie and could be the cover for a spooky book. or movie poster. Would not want to meet her on a dark night., LOL Bobbie

    • Very nice to here from you Bobbie! I was going for creepy and actually photographed a few others but like her best. She was in the Daughter’s of the American Revolution building … probably some ghosts there!

  4. This is so cool. Great work, Denise.

    • Hi Ray. Thank you … I’m glad you like these. Another camera club invited out club us to join them to make 12 for an admission discount. It was an all-day shoot but we took a break at lunch.

  5. Such fascinating, well captured “stuff” that most of us will never see except through your eyes. Grateful that you continue to share your visions. The typewriter keys bring back memories such as my fingers slipping between the keys in spite of the fact that the individual keys have ridges! I’m always looking out for old ceramic dolls to photograph, the uglier the better. So Dolly is my favorite.

    • So nice to hear from you Season! You must have not cheated by looking at the typewriter keys like I did. I’m glad you like the doll. They had a lot of creepy ones but most were behind glass. So nice to hear from you!

  6. Great captures of these items. Rendered in B&W is a good choice!

  7. 13 Rose

    Nice photos. Enjoy the black and white and angles. Good work. For some reason the typewriter photos really caught my eye.

    • Hi and thank you for your visit and comment. They had every brand of typewriter you could imagine. I am drawn to them too and have quite a few photos of old typewriters in my Remnants & Remains collection now.

  8. Great series, Denise. Perfect in B&W.
    Some of these things make me feel a bit vintage, too. Growing up, we used similar canning jars, milk bottles, typewriter and I learned to sew on a treadle machine. Yikes, I’m a museum piece! 😉

  9. Denise….some of your best work I have seen. Keep it flowing & groein’. En theos. jasL

  10. You did very well finding objects without annoying signs, lighting and other photographer unfriendly things. These remind me of the Holcombe-Jimison farm in Hunterdon County, NJ.

    • In my June post ‘Historic Close-ups’ I referred to having shot at a farmstead museum and of course it was the Holcombe-Jimison. Do you remember I ran a couple of tours there? This place was not staged as well. Was that you after one of the trips that was with us at the Living History Museum when I rounded up the sheep? 🙂

  11. First thing I thought of when I saw several of these shots was how clean and without distraction your images are. You would never suspect these beauties were surrounded with clutter. But my favorite is the sewing machine and cobwebs. The train lantern certainly is a eye catcher as well. Really like the study is in black and white. Clicking the LOVE key

    • Thanks Buck! There was a group of 7 ladies from my club. We were there all day but went out to lunch for a break. I’m glad you like the black and white … I thought they worked better than in color.

  12. 24 Angela Moyer

    Excellent, Love your work. You have such great style!

  13. That sounds like such a challenging environment, but you have great skills and made the best of it…I particularly like the chair, the doll, the tricycle and the last photo – very poignant, quiet, and restful.

  14. Great photos Denise!

  15. Well these certainly didn’t disappoint……you have a good eye for detail and I am a lover of B/W. Lovely series!

  16. You did a marvelous job in trying circumstances. I love every one of these! I bet it was difficult to pick a few to post.

    • Hi Linda … thanks! A lot of times I pick out more than I end up using. Processing brings out their potential and I can compare and see what I have and how they will work together with the theme.

  17. Wonderful collection and the black & white development really captures how old/vintage these things are! I loved the typewriter keys, the doll, and trike.

  18. Excellent site you have here.. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like yours these days.

    I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    • Oh … thank you very much. I never liked writing in school but I like it now … especially blogging format. I appreciate positive feedback like that! 🙂

  19. Thought I already commented on this post, but my reader says not. Great find, and of course I love the b&w compositions. It’s hard to pick a fav! I loved the floor compositions for their simplicity and natural lighting, which is an asset throughout the series. Well done.

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