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‘Revisiting Twain’s Mississippi’ Exhibit Opens May 4, Features Prints of 19th Century Blue Cyanotypes With Modern-Day Photos
Photo exhibit: Revisiting Twain’s Mississippi.” See the river’s immense grandeur in prints of Henry Bosse’s spectacular 19th century blue cyanotype photos of Mississippi River sites associated with Mark Twain. The prints are matted alongside prints of modern-day photos of the same sites by St. Paul photographer Chris Faust.
Exhibit opens May 4, runs through June 22
. Hours are the same as the library: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
Cargill Hall Gallery in Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.
On May 7, 7-8 p.m., local author John Anfinson (“The River We Have Wrought” and “River of History”), a historian/cultural resources specialist with the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, will speak on the history of the Upper Mississippi River. Photographer Chris Faust also will talk about Henry Bosse, and how he (Faust) used his training as a biologist when re-photographing the river from the same vantage points as Bosse more than 100 years later.
Exhibit and event are free.
Funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, sponsored by the Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators and presented in collaboration with the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography.
MORE INFO:        
612-543-8000 or www.hclib.org.
Henry Bosse took hundreds of photos of the Mississippi River while working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is considered the leading 19th century photographer of the river. Cyanotype is an inexpensive photographic process that prints in blue and was used by engineers.
Bosse’s cyanotypes were published in large-format albums titled “Views on the Mississippi River Between Minneapolis, Minn., and St. Louis, Mo., 1883-1891” and are now in the permanent collections of some of the most prestigious museums and art centers in the U.S., including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Chris Faust, whose modern-day photos are also featured in the exhibit, said Bosse’s technique for creating his oval cyanotypes was unique and inventive for the time. 
“Bosse made an 11” X 14” glass plate negative of the image, made a paper oval and put it on top of the negative, then sandwiched it with blueprint paper and put it in the sun to produce the print,” Faust said. He thinks Bosse made his own blueprint paper with chemicals that were inexpensive and available to him as a draftsperson.
“It was a very convenient and cheap way to make prints right away, essentially using blueprint paper and archival map drawing paper,” Faust said.
Faust is a landscape photographer best known for his panoramic landscape photos. His photos have been exhibited at museums and art centers and in private collections around the country, and illustrate several books, including “Nocturnes: Night Photographs.” He teaches courses on photography and media at Brown College in Mendota Heights.   
Faust said his modern-day images in the “Revisiting Twain’s Mississippi” exhibit “are more of a conversation on present day landscapes. The diptychs are made from relatively the same location as the original cyanotypes. I say relatively because for most of the locations, the physical place has either eroded or is under water.”
Faust said he has had a long fascination with the Mississippi. “I’ve always lived close to the river. It’s a dynamic landscape and fertile for image making. I’ve always photographed the clumsy marriage between natural forces and human intervention.”
For the exhibit, images by Bosse and Faust were scanned, printed side-by-side on one piece of paper and matted together.


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