“This illustrates the way our men cheerfully exposed themselves to danger even when their work was not supposed to be dangerous.” – Samuel H. Graves, On the White Pass Pay-Roll
Scaling cliffsides, keeping dangerously near blasting sites, and occasionally perching along or atop moving trains, photographers did whatever it took to capture the perfect images of the construction of the White Pass railway through Alaska and the Yukon at the end of the 19th century. The White Pass’s own official photographer, H.C. Barley, was once struck by debris from a dynamite blast at the railway building site, destroying his camera and prompting railway president Samuel H. Graves to report to his financiers, “You’ll see that if he lives a few weeks longer you will be likely to get some ‘risky’ pictures.”
Holding tight to both the train and their equipment, two unidentified photographers become the subject for photographer E.J. Hamacher, as the train comes around the bend in this image.