The Rexburg Project | Rexburg Fine Art Photographer

This past spring I was living in Rexburg Idaho with my husband. I first arrived in Rexburg in the fall of 2009 to attend classes at BYU-Idaho. Now it's 2014 and I am still spending my time in Rexburg. Ironically though, as I write, I am sitting in the shade by the pool in sunny southern California. Summer time comes with it's opportunities, and so the hubs and I moved to Riverside California to give door to door summer sales a try. More on that later...

This post is about a small series shot on 35mm black and white film for a business in Rexburg. I shot, developed, and printed everything in a matter of about four weeks. I wished I had had more time to devote to the project because it was one of the most rewarding things I have done lately. Scroll down to the bottom and read my little artist statement/project summary to learn more about the project.

By the way, these are scans of the prints, and probably not the best scans, but they give the general idea. The original prints are now hanging in a conference room at a local Rexburg business,

Avantguard Monitoring Centers

. If anyone wants to go see them, shoot me an email and I can get you in to take a peek. ;)

Madison County Courthouse

Silver Gelatin Print

March 2014

The Madison County Courthouse was built between 1919 and 1922. It occupies the corner where Rexburg’s first log cabin was built by none other than Thomas E. Ricks.

Twin Logs at Beaver Dick Park

Silver Gelatin Print

March 2014

One of the many interesting character’s dotting Rexburg’s history is Richard “Beaver Dick” Leigh, a fur trapper and one of the area’s last real mountain men. A 9.5 acre park located on the west side of Henry’s Fork now bear’s his name.

Rexburg LDS Temple

Silver Gelatin Print

March 2014

Dedicated in 2008, this temple is a widely visible landmark from miles around the valley below. It is the third of three LDS temples built in Idaho. 

Dirt Rows

Silver Gelatin Print

May 2013

Sixty percent of all Idaho potatoes come from the Snake River Plain. 

Teton Dam Site Ruins

Silver Gelatin Print

June 2013

The catastrophic dam failure that flooded the snake river valley in 1976, changed Rexburg forever.  It caused $194 million dollars of damage and 14 deaths. About eighty percent of all existing structures in Rexburg were damaged in some way by the flood. 

Pews

Rexburg Tabernacle interior

Silver Gelatin Print

March 2014

The Rexburg Tabernacle was once a church meeting house for the LDS community, but was sold to the city in 1980. The tabernacle was erected in 1911, making it over one hundred years old.  

 St. Anthony Sand Dunes

Silver Gelatin Print

March 2014

The St. Anthony Sand Dunes cover about 11,000 acres with white quartz sand that moves a total of 8 feet per year.

Rexburg, Idaho

The Land That Made a City

In the Year 1883, the area around the Snake River Plain was in a transitional phase. This once wild land, purely inhabited by wildlife and a few fur trappers, was being colonized by members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. These “Mormon” Pioneers settled the area and named their town Ricksburg, after their Bishop and local leader. They had seen the potential in the abundant water, wildlife, and fertile land found there. Samuel Swanner said of the town’s rapid growth, “Thomas E. Ricks and his associates accomplished more in two years in building canals, fences, bridges, and making general improvement, than I have ever known of in the course of five years.” By 1890, the Rexburg area was home to 3,861 Mormons. 

More recently, the school that they had established in 1888, became a private four year university in 2001. From 2000 to 2010, Rexburg has seen a 47% increase in population, largely due to the new University. This east Idaho city is no stranger to change.

I have lived in Rexburg since 2009. In recent years, entire blocks that were once quiet and lined with old homes and large trees are gone, replaced by large, five story apartment buildings. Brigham Young University Idaho has undergone major construction in the form of additional buildings and extensive renovations.  Announcements have been made for future large scale retail in a town, including a Super Walmart. 

In this photographic project, I have hoped to illustrate a serenity and reverence a few of the places in and near Rexburg that have a timeless quality. Scenes that feel familiar are depicted with a slightly more ethereal mood. Silver gelatin prints link the images to the past; to a time when life moved at a slower pace. Longer exposures for street scenes give a nod to the future, and to a legacy of progress.