Scope and Content Note
Ben L. Gifford's photographs were taken between 1950 and 1955 as he completed his senior year at Oregon State College, pursued photographic training at the Fred Archer School of Photography, and then joined the family photography business in Salem, Oregon. The photographs include scenes of Oregon State College and the Corvallis area, especially fellow students at Colorado Lake. Photographs that Gifford made as part of his classwork at the Fred Archer School of Photography in Los Angeles are part of the collection. Most of these photographs were probably made in California; they depict various subjects and reflect several forms of commercial photograph, including advertising and still life.
The bulk of the collection (Series III through XIII) is comprised of images made by Ben during May and June 1951, soon after he joined the family photograph business that are arranged in groups (1A through 16P) by topic. Most of these images document agriculture, primarily in the Willamette Valley, and include images of dairy and beef cattle, horses, sheep, and a goat; barns and silos; harvesting of strawberries, apples, gooseberries, and cherries; and FFA and 4-H stock shows. Many of the agricultural scenes were submitted to and published in agricultural trade magazines such as Hoard's Dairyman Magazine, American Fruit Grower, and Farm Journal. These series also include images of the Marion County Courthouse and Oregon State Capitol and scenic views of the Wallowa Mountains and Wallowa Lake. A few of the images may have been taken by Wanda Gifford.
The collection also includes unnumbered photographs taken in 1954-1955 that depict workers at the State Highway Department; Hoo Doo Bowl and Santiam Lodge at Santiam Pass; and Timberline Lodge and Mt. Hood. Numerous images of skiers, snow-covered trees and landscapes, and snowplows are included.
The primary format in the collection is 4x5 film negative. Prints are included for about half of the negatives.
A selection of images from the collection are available online in The Best of the Archives.
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