Featured Artist Steve Slocomb

Photographer Steve Slocomb explores the history and legends of an Old West ghost town. See more of his portfolio by visiting his website.


Photograph of El Capitan by Steve Slocomb

“El Capitan” photography, sizes vary


In 1970, after a short-lived career in the aerospace industry I pivoted into media arts: filmmaking and still photography. Long story short, in 1982 I decided to relocate the family from California to the wilds of Montana to further my interest of nature photography. Over the years exploring the side canyons, mountain craigs and meadows I built up a body of work that reflects my love of the Bitterroot Valley.


Photo of Masonic Lodge and schoolhouse in Bannock, MT

“Masonic Lodge/School house” photography, sizes vary


Along the way I discovered a remarkable ghost town in the remote reaches of the Big Hole valley. The town, Bannack, sprung up along the banks of Grasshopper Creek from a gold rush in 1862 that was the first large strike in Montana.


photograph of an old West ghost town

“Assay Office, City Drugs, Meade Hotel” photography, sizes vary


As is often the case, the gold fields became plagued by wanton thievery. To combat this, a secret vigilante organization was formed to deal with the situation. They took their job seriously, hanging some 50 souls over three years without benefit of trial. This was the largest such group to ever form in American History.


photograph of a dresser in an old West hotel

“Spooky Scene at the Meade Hotel” photography, sizes vary


The pinnacle of their activities was hanging the town sheriff and his two deputies, who were accused of being leaders of a murderous gang of “road agents” (stage coach robbers). Without benefit of trial, the proceedings terminated rather quickly.


Photograph of an old wagon in snow in a Western ghost town

“Wagon in Pristine Snow” photography, sizes vary


One recent spring morning after a late season snowfall, as I was camping in the lovely creek side campground, I found myself to be the sole visitor in the park. Much to my astonishment after having taken many a winter photograph, I now found pristine snow without the usual footprints. I ran quickly between my favorite buildings to capture this fleeting moment before other visitors arrived. It was like I was seeing the world with new eyes.


Panorama of an old Western ghost town

“Methodist Church Panorama” photography, sizes vary


After having visited the park dozens of times, I always find it different, with changing moods. The stormy clouds, the character of light, the reflections off the ancient sagging window glass panes, all speak to me.


Photograph of a home in a Western ghost town

“Roe/Graves House” photography, sizes vary


As for actual ghosts, yes, they have those too. Need proof? Ask at the ranger office about the special notebook tucked away under the counter that has photos taken over the years by park visitors that show strange reflections, apparitions hovering in the background and other unusual phenomena to dispel the sceptics.


Photo of a gallows in an Old West town

“Gallows” photography, sizes vary


One particular joy of mine was using an infrared modified camera to shoot panoramas of the town streets just as a serious storm was moving in. This series is my most popular imagery. I usually bring a print or two with me when I am staying in the campground, and often procure a sale.


panoramic photo of an Old West ghost town

“Masonic Temple/Schoolhouse Panorama” photography, sizes vary


Prowling around the ancient buildings looking for new compositions is really my happy place.


Steve Slocomb invites you to follow him on Facebook.



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  1. An elegant, consistent body of work – congratulations!

  2. thanks. old bio: https://www.steveslocombphotography.com/Bio.

    Transferring images to Getty for licensing.

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