Exhibition sponsors and partners
The exhibition was sponsored by the Minnesota State Libraries, with funding from the Minnesota State Legacy Grant.
Revisiting Twain's Mississippi
In the years 1882-1892, Henry Peter Bosse travelled the Upper Mississippi River Valley, as a photographer with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, while engaged in a serious and historic undertaking. Today, some 125 years later, the St. Paul native photographer Chris Faust (1955), a biologist by training and an explorer by nature, found the means to re-photograph the Mississippi River from Bosse’s vantage points. He has carefully re-photographed the same views as Bosse, aided by modern GPS and the help of Army maps.
Bosse's photographs helped Faust create the most accurate map of the upper Mississippi to date, which made the design of bridges, locks and levees possible. Beyond their evident beauty, Bosse’s photographs are uncommonly astute studies of the intersection of nature and culture - the natural landscape with the manmade environment.
Ultimately, Bosse published Views on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis, Minn and St. Louis, Mo. 1883-1891 in 1893. This handsome volume contained large format cyanotypes, printed using an oval mask, titled by Bosse in hand-written ink. Bosse’s work was shown at the historic World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, a turning point in the history of photography, to great critical success and much fanfare. Today, Bosse’s cyanotypes are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery, of Art, SFMoMA, the Getty Museum and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.