A Man and His Camera: The Photographs of Ralph Eddy

Ralph James Eddy was born in Salamanca, NY in 1889. Following his graduation from high school there, he moved with his parents to Portland, OR. After operating a photo studio in Portland for a few years, the family relocated to Oregon City in 1915, where Eddy's father, Watson, opened a dry goods store and Ralph opened his photo studio. Ralph married Lillie Long, the daughter of William Long, who established the Star and Liberty Theaters in Oregon City. The Eddy's were the parents of two sons, Allison and Albert. Although he and Lillie continued to live in Oregon City, Ralph spent a large part of his time in southern California near the end of his life and he died in Riverside, CA in 1970.


The family's donation to the Clackamas County Historical Society includes negatives, prints and slides from his 60 years of photography. Beginning with glass plate negatives from his studio work the collection progresses through early acetate negatives to 35 mm film and color slides. The photographs include images of Oregon City, scenic views of Oregon and southern California and photographs of people at work and play.

Eddy is best known for his photographs in the 1920s which were reproduced as postcards. He and his wife traveled throughout Oregon by automobile documenting the wonders of the state.

"A Man and His Camera: The Photography of Ralph Eddy" provides a sample of photographs from the collection and features a portrait wall and examples of the original photographs used as postcards. Cameras similar to ones Eddy would have used are on display along with samples of developing materials. The centerpiece of the exhibit is an early box camera and lens giving the viewer the opportunity to see through the lens just as Eddy did one hundred years ago.


Entering the exhibit


The camera focused on the Willamette River
The Timeline Wall with examples of photos from the 60 years of Eddy's work and displays of cameras, developing materials and samples of Eddy's prints