The History of Open Range Images
Oct 12, 2020
By Mack Frost
Open Range Images is a co-op gallery of local photographers who display and sell their fine art images of the Greater Yellowstone Region from the historic Bradbury Building, 1201 Sheridan Avenue in Cody. The gallery was started in 2004 when Ham Bryon, then owner of the UXU Lodge on the Cody Road to Yellowstone, purchased the building. He offered signed or certified prints of famous photographers, such as Ansel Adams, L.A. Huffman, David Stoecklein and others. While the gallery was successful, it proved to be a greater drain on Ham’s time and other entrepreneurial efforts.
In 2006, J.L. “Woody” Wooden, a professor of photography at Northwest College in Powell, suggested to Ham that he ought to turn the gallery into a co-op. While living and working in California, Wooden was a member of “Astra,” a co-op gallery in Santa Barbara, so he had experience in such an enterprise. Ham agreed with the idea and Open Range Images soon had 10 or 12 area photographers represented, including Wooden. Each member had a share of wall space in the gallery and would come in two or three times a month to open and operate the co-op, a practice that continues to this day.
The membership has changed throughout the preceding years. The gallery is set up as a limited partnership, with members obligated for one year’s membership. When a member decides to leave, the remaining partners will solicit proposals from new photographers who are then admitted by a juried selection process. Wall space is rotated on a regular basis to keep the gallery’s appearance fresh. New members are admitted at the beginning of the new fiscal year, now on the first day of the 2nd Quarter. Open Range Images is open seven days a week from 11-9 in the summer, and slowly backs off the days and hours open until the winter hours are Fridays and Saturdays Noon to 5 (or by appointment, just contact us).
Current members include Mack Frost, Amy Gerber, Catherine “Cat” Hasselbacher, Karen Hayhurst, Janet Jones, Vicki Olson, Linda Skeen, Randi Slaughter, Kevin Rowe, Jesse Mae Dalton and Mike Blissett. The members divide their photographic interests between area landscapes and the animals and plants of the region, especially Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the surrounding mountain ranges. However, great photographs occur wherever one goes (“Wherever you go, there you are!"). Visitors will find images from all over Wyoming and Montana, the states of the desert southwest, the eastern seaboard, Alaska and Canada, even Africa! Print media includes greeting cards, matted prints, and framed prints in many sizes, canvas prints and “gallery wraps,” and the startling clarity of metal prints.
About a year after Ham bought the Bradbury building, he had it listed with the National Registry of Historic Places. The Bradbury was the last building to be built on the corners of 12th Street and Sheridan Avenue, circa 1905. It was constructed of the same brown sandstone that was quarried just south of town to build the other three buildings on the intersection, starting with the Irma Hotel, as well as several other downtown buildings. Sheridan Avenue is Cody’s main east-west avenue, housing the downtown business district. 12th Street, in the early days of the town, was the second busiest street in Cody, as this was the street that connected the town with the Burlington Railroad depot across the river to the north. A second, smaller business district spread out along the street to the edge of the river drainage. Stagecoach, freight wagon, and automobile traffic were constant on 12th Street until the early 1950’s when passenger service ended at the Cody depot. The intersection is still the “hot” spot of downtown Cody, and Open Range Images is proud to be part of it.