As I walk through campus in these early autumn days I cannot help but to notice the trees turning vibrant colors, the glowing ivory tracing its way up the brick buildings, and the sunsets in the evening that transform the sky. I see so many remarkable pictures of this area that my fellow classmates have taken. The University of Puget Sound is clearly full of talented photographers.
Wilhelm Hester was enjoying many of these same things over 120 years ago. But unlike today, he was one of the only photographers in that time to take these pictures. Hester started to photograph the ships and the sailors that entered into Puget Sound in 1893. His pictures “reveal his extraordinary sensitivity to the beauty of the ships and the sea.” These pictures did not come easily, however. Today all you have to do is whip out your phone to get a good shot. In the 19th century, Hester had to carry “heavy and awkward equipment” around in difficult weather (and we all know how wet it can get around here). Even though it was a challenge to get a great shot of the boats, Hester’s pictures only show the remarkable simplicity and calmness of the sea.
Today it is easy to get a lovely picture of all that Puget Sound has to offer, but let us step back and appreciate Wilhelm Hester who brought to light the significance and beauty of Puget Sound. To read more about Hester and to see more of his photos check out “Tall Ships on Puget Sound” by Robert A. Weinstein in the library’s Archives & Special Collections.