Oysters are unusual little creatures, and they've played a distinctive role in Pacific Northwest history. As Euro-Americans settled this region, the native oyster became one of the first natural resources to be exploited on a large scale — and one of the first to be depleted. The oyster business spawned the creation of several coastal communities and precipitated the demise of a vast Indian reservation. Yet the oysters themselves and the colorful oystermen who farm them have contributed many unacknowledged environmental benefits, as well.
The beauty and magic of the Columbia River Gorge has attracted photographers for more than 150 years. The River They Saw chronicles the history of the Gorge with rarely seen images crafted by Carleton Watkins, Sarah Ladd, Benjamin Gifford, Al Monner and many others. These early photographers left a stunning visual legacy through images still considered among the greatest landscape photos ever made.