Are you a camerist?

Pembina Pioneer Express-1

Pembina Pioneer Express_18981229-2From the Pembina Pioneer Express in 1898, we know that Alex Harris of Carlisle, North Dakota is a “camerist.” I like that word better than photographer.

The Pioneer Express also asks, “…is there not someplace on earth where cameras do not go?” Their answer – “No, nary a place.”

If only the Pioneer Express newspaper writers from 1898 could see today’s world with the ever present camera phone.  They would know how truly right they were.

Information added April 1, 2015: Our camerist, Alex Harris was born in Canada in January 1866. He immigrated to the United States in 1888, settling in Carlisle, North Dakota. He lived as a farmer until 1904 when he sold his small 13 acre farm to John Hart for $3000. Afterward Alex Harris worked as a laborer until retiring in the 1920s. Alex Harris never married, and he remained in the North Dakota until his death in 1939 at age 71.

Note: Many old newspapers, including the Pembina Pioneer Express, are available through Library of Congress Chronicling America. Information on Alex Harris was taken from the Pembina Pioneer Press, as well as from additional sources on the web, including U.S. Census data, and the North Dakota state web site.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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