Before Dworshak Dam was built and Highway 12 was paved, families in the 1950s and 1960s would head deep into Clearwater country to camp, fish, hunt and explore the wilds.
The photographs in the presentation were taken on family outings by A.W. “Red” Helton, a plant science researcher and educator at the University of Idaho who currently resides in Bonners Ferry. His daughter was visiting him in 2001 when she discovered his Kodachrome slide collection and envisioned a project that would capture that era.
“It’s like Norman Rockwell, the pictures,” Helton said. “His talent was really in framing a picture.”
The presentation begins in northern Idaho and ends in southern Idaho, with the vast majority of images coming out of Clearwater country where the family would regularly drive, hike or take pack horses into the backcountry. Some of the images were taken at places that are now under water because of Dworshak Dam.
Helton scanned slide after slide and between her father’s record keeping and memory, was able to document the date and location for each photograph. The images have been on exhibit at various museums, galleries and other venues over the past few years. The full collection is currently being entered into the digital archives at the University of Idaho where they will be available for online viewing.
As a lifelong musician with involvement in the arts, creating a multimedia presentation out of the collection was a natural fit for Helton. She composed original music to accompany the photo and film project.
“It’s about loving where you live, loving a place and having access to that place,” Helton said.
Recently, the Friends of the Clearwater wrote a grant to fund a series of presentations in Latah County, which will include the 35 minute performance video, followed by a Q&A session. More information about the project is online at www.myfathersidaho.org.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: “My Father’s Idaho” Latah County Tour
WHEN AND WHERE: 7 p.m. Aug. 16 at Genesee Senior Center, 7 p.m. Aug. 17 Troy Lions Club, 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at Potlatch Depot at Scenic 6 Park, 7 p.m. Aug. 26 Moscow East City Park in conjunction with Friends of the Clearwater Hot Summer BBQ, beginning at 5 p.m.