Charles J. Belden (1888 to 1963)

Charles Belden silver gelatin photograph of cowboys watering their horses

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Charles Belden silver gelatin photograph of a horse resting while a flock of sheep graze on the other side of a lake

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Charles Belden silver gelatin photograph of a Western home interior with stone fireplace

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Charles Belden silver gelatin photograph of sheep on a snowy hillside

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Charles J. Belden (1888 to 1963)

Charles J. Belden (1888 to 1963) was born in San Francisco into a wealthy California family. He developed a life-long passion for photography when he purchased his first camera to record his travels throughout Germany and Russia after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1909. Upon his return to the U.S., Belden worked as a cowboy on the L.G. Phelps Ranch in Wyoming. He then went to work on and eventually managed the legendary Pitchfork Ranch near Meeteetse, Wyoming. During his time at the Pitchfork Ranch between the 1920s and 1930s, Belden produced a variety of images that captured life on the dude ranch, including livestock activities, as well as the surrounding western landscape. Many of his western photographs were taken on horseback aboard his reliable pony Pinky. He thought this gave him the desired perspective he was hoping to achieve. Belden’s photographs were featured in various publications, including National Geographic and the Saturday Evening Post. Refer to the University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center’s Digital Collection of Charles J. Belden Photography for comparable examples of his work.

Information courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc.

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