Home»Swan's Land: A Journey with the Pioneer Scholar of Shoalwater Bay
Infrared Views of Historic SW Washington.
In 1852 a Boston ship-fitter in search of adventure named James G. Swan settled on the eastern shore of Shoalwater Bay (now known as Willapa Bay). At the time, only about a dozen whites lived in this southwestern corner of the newly created Washington Territory, most engaged in the emerging enterprise of selling native oysters to schooners sailing out of gold-booming San Francisco. Over the next three years, Swan befriended the local Native Americans, explored the bay and the rivers that emptied into it, and chronicled his experiences in the first book ever published about life in Washington, “The Northwest Coast; or, Three Years' Residence in the Washington Territory.”
In 2015, over 160 years later, I spent a month at the Willapa Bay Artist Residency in Oysterville following in Swan's footsteps with my infrared camera. Using his book as my guide, I photographed many of the places he described, from the top of the Bay to the mouth of the Columbia, as well as other historically significant sites along the way.
Keywords:bay, infrared, oysterville, willapa
© Rich Bergeman Photography