Benjamin J. Ochsner Vintage
Medium Carbon print
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1930s Print Date 1930s
Dimensions 15-1/2 x 13-1/2 in. (394 x 343 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Signed and titled in pencil on recto and verso of the mount.
Benjamin James Ochsner was a Durango, CO, medical doctor whose photos were exhibited in England, France, Canada and the United States. He pioneered the use of color in photography. Born in Prairie-du-Sac, WI, on January 10, 1869, Dr. Ochsner graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science degree. At college he studied music. After college the doctor attended Rush Medical College.
He studied in Europe for a year and in 1902 came to Telluride, CO, to practice. His interest in music led him to play nightly with a string ensemble in the mining town's Sheridan hotel. In 1903 he came to Durango. Shortly thereafter he started the first of three hospitals he administered there.
He was apparently a champion pistol shot, winning Austria's national pistol championship while there on a trip abroad. He put on an exhibition of pistol shooting for the King and Queen of Belgium. Later he numbered the American National Pistol trophy among his many national and international awards for both rifle and handgun shooting.
Considered one of the world's most consistent contributors to national and international photography salons, the doctor became one of the few Americans honored with a fellowship in the Royal Photography Society of London. His work appeared consistently in the American Annual of Photography from 1933 to 1951, and he was also a member of the Photographic Society of America.
He was one of the few photographers who still developed his images by the old carbon process. He sensitized his own printing paper and used sunlight to develop his prints.
He died in August 20, 1953 at home at the age of 84.
Ochsner's pictures are in the collections of the Smithsonian Institute and Delaney Southwest Research Library at the Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO.