In Long Exposures: Repeat Photography & Parks as Portals to Learning, Stephanie G’Schwind of the English Department’s Center for Literary Publishing collaborated with Jared Orsi and Ariel Schnee of the History Department’s Public Lands History Center to publish a book of essays on something important to Coloradoans — Rocky Mountain National Park and its visitors.
The collaboration began when the two centers moved into the Tiley House on the southeast edge of campus. It was an ideal match — the Center for Literary Publishing produces books and the Public Lands History Center produces historical narratives.
“It was a lightbulb moment to expand our interns’ experience into a tangible artifact,” G’Schwind said.
The book’s content came from student participants and faculty observers at the Public Lands History Center’s annual field workshop, Parks as Portals to Learning.
At the weeklong workshop, students work alongside members of the National Park Service to explore and address some of the problems facing Rocky Mountain National Park. During the summer of 2018, they investigated issues surrounding visitation with repeat photography: selecting a historic photograph, reshooting the image in the present day, and comparing the two images to understand change and continuity over time.
The writing and publication process began in June 2018 and wrapped in May 2019. Graduate student interns from the English Department edited and produced the book at The Center for Literary Publishing, which G’Schwind oversees.
Most of her interns do not get the opportunity to edit this kind of scholarly writing, as most have more experience with creative writing. For the History Department’s students, the experience aligned with the process of real academic publishing. As Orsi explained, “They learned how to interact with production. It was hypothetical to real-world training.”
When asked what their favorite essays from the book were, G’Schwind commented that she thought all were excellent as was the experience. Orsi said the essays that he enjoyed the most were by Joseph Sarr, which explores the benefits and challenges of repeat photography in depth, and the essay by Kurt R. Knierim, a high school teacher, whose essay reveals what he took back to his classroom at Rocky Mountain High School from the workshop.
Both added that the collaboration was a good experience for themselves and their interns. If the opportunity arises, they said they would to do it again. They also expressed their gratitude to the Department of History, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Provost’s Office for their generous funding that made this project possible.
Long Exposures is available online as an open-source e-book through Mountain Scholar: Digital Collections of Colorado and Wyoming at hdl.handle.net/10217/194985.