When he retired from the army in 1935, Captain Donald Kemp returned to Colorado, his home state, where he would produce an abundant collection of landscape photography.
Before the smartphone era, when natural scenes seem almost permanent in pop culture, Kemp slogged out to mountaintops to capture scenic views that most people could only store in memory.
ALSO IN THE HISTORIC COLORADO PHOTO SERIES: Henry Mellon Rhoads | Sandra Dallas | Burnis McCloud | Charles Lillybridge
According to researcher Randel Metz at the Denver Public Library, Kemp became fascinated by the history of mining in Colorado. His new passion led him to publish several books on Colorado history and produce “rare documentation” of Gilpin County’s gold and silver mining operations.
In feeding his curiosity with history Kemp developed his skill behind the camera and shot a ton of natural imagery, which was donated to the library in 1973. While much of his work features trees, lakes and peaks, his camera also captured the last era of pioneer life.