Classic Photos of Western Colorado In Honor of Robert Grant’s 100th Birthday
Late Grand Junction, Colorado photographer Robert Grant would have celebrated his 100th birthday this Saturday, May 27, 2023. In honor of his special day, here are a number of Robert Grant photos, all from Western Colorado, selected completely at random.
Robert Grant passed away in November of 2000. Since then, my family has attempted to catalog and share his personal photos. These are photos that, shall we say, didn't make the cut. In other words, most have never been seen until now.
Who Was Grand Junction Photographer Robert Grant?
From the late 1930s to the mid-1980s, Robert Grant, or simply Bob, was the photographer at the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. He took a four-year hiatus from the Daily Sentinel from 1941 to 1945 to serve in the United States Army during World War II. In addition to serving as a soldier, Bob also photographed for the Army and worked with a group of cartographers in India and China (and for a little while in Australia.)
Bob Grant's Personal Life
As a child, Bob contracted a childhood disease leaving him with severely compromised eyesight. From his time as a little boy until his death, he wore Coke-bottle glasses with the thickest lenses you could imagine.
Eventually, he landed a job with the Daily Sentinel as an engraver. Ultimately, before leaving for World War II, he worked his way up to the photographer. Upon being discharged from the Army he came straight back to Grand Junction and went back to work at the Sentinel the very next day.
Celebrating His 100th Birthday
I have been thinking about my grandpa, Bob Grant, quite a bit lately as we approach what would have been his 100th birthday. With that, I went to my basement last night and grabbed about 100 prints out of drawer #2 of his old file cabinet. Out of those 100 or so prints, I filtered it down to a handful of images. Those prints are featured here.
The images below are among those that "didn't make the cut." That's my way of describing prints that didn't make the Daily Sentinel, his calendars, or failed to find their way to being seen by the public. Many of these are prints I picked up off the floor in his darkroom sometime back in the early 1970s.
Bob was unbelievably frugal, and as a result, never wasted anything. He may have saved some of these simply because he couldn't bring himself to throw them away.
Take a Close Look, and Then... Look Closer
With that, it is safe to say no one has laid eyes on these images until now. My grandpa used to say to me, "When taking a photo, get in close. Then, just after you get in close, get in closer." He was a newsman to the core and had no interest in filters or overuse of lenses.
Look closely at the images below. Like always with Robert Grant photos, keep an eye out for someone you recognize. Always keep a sharp eye out for local landmarks. More than anything, look for the not-so-obvious elements of these photos. The devil is in the details. Each shot features content that may not be obvious at first.
In the 23 years since Bob Grant died, my family has been busy trying to preserve his prints and negatives. After 23 years, I've decided to hand over his entire collection of photos to the Museum of the West. Most have already been donated. These represent some of the last to be delivered to the museum.