Montana Arts Council - Fall 2017 State of the Arts - About Books
The latest book on the frontier photographer who arrived in Montana in 1889 is written in the Young Adult genre, but author Lorna Milne doesn’t dumb down the language. She uses parenthetical notes to explain arcane tidbits that might not be familiar to present-day readers and writes candidly about Cameron’s unusual marital situation.
Milne also deploys wonderful imagery, gleaned from Cameron’s diaries and letters and augmented by the author’s own skillful language use. The biography reflects the beauty of Eastern Montana without glazing over the harsh conditions of that region in the early 1900s.
I am somewhat familiar with Cameron’s work but had no sense of the woman herself. What a character! The spunky Brit was incredibly hard working when husband and relatives weren’t. She kept the ranch together, tended the house and vegetable gardens, and at the same time emerged as one of the most prolific and talented photographers of her generation.
No wonder she was lauded by a contemporary as “one of the great wonders of Montana.”
Using Cameron’s diaries, source material and her own deep understanding of the area and its people, the author has crafted a magnificent biographical work, which should appeal to readers of all ages.
Milne, a farmer living in the Helena area who also teaches writing and literature at Carroll College, is a graduate of the school of journalism at the University of Montana in Missoula. Growing up in eastern Montana near the Camerons’ homestead gives her a perspective few can match.
Glendive Ranger Review - August 11, 2017 Local Pens Biography of Evelyn Cameron By Cindy Mullet Ranger-Review Staff Writer
Fulfilling a promise she made to herself while a student at Washington Junior High School, Lorna Milne has written her first biography, “Evelyn Cameron: Photographer on the Western Prairie.” . . . . . Read the full article here.
Synopsis: In 1889, Evelyn Cameron was a young spunky British woman of genteel upbringing who set sail for the United States against her family's wishes. She traveled with a friend, Ewen Cameron, the man who later became her husband. They were bound for eastern Montana to hunt big game along the Yellowstone River, only thirteen years after the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
The next fall the Camerons returned to England, packed up, and moved to Montana, where they lived for the rest of their lives. They first rented a ranch on the Powder River, among other British expatriates, to raise polo ponies for export to England. After years of limited success in the pony trade, they bought a small herd of cattle, settling into a more dependable existence of ranching and market gardens.
In "Evelyn Cameron", biographer Lorna Milne uses diaries and letters to reconstruct how Evelyn lived in the harsh eastern Montana landscape and how she became an extraordinary photographer. Evelyn may have been born in England, but through heart and temperament, she was a true Westerner. She was resourceful, hard working, observant, artistic, adaptable. According to her contemporary, a traveling Englishwoman, Evelyn was described as one of the great wonders of Montana.
Critique: This biography of Evelyn Cameron (1868 - 1928) is impressively informative, exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented. Nicely illustrated throughout with black and white photography, "Evelyn Cameron" is an inherently engaging read from cover to cover and very highly recommended for both community and academic library Biography collections. It will also prove to be of immense interest for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the history of American Photography.
Helen Dumont, Reviewer
Children's Bookwatch: July 2017 James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief Diane Donovan, Editor Midwest Book Review 278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575
STEM Friday: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books - July 2017