Stephen Hallet Willard (1894-1966) was born in Illinois and grew up in Corona California. He photographed the deserts and
mountains of the West for 58 years. His mastery of the black and white photograph, combined with his passion for the landscape,
translates into a body of work documenting remote areas of the West few Americans had seen or visited, yet he remains largely
unknown. By the time Willard graduated from Corona High School in 1912, he had developed the skills needed for a career in
photography. During the next few years, he made several important photographic trips through the wilderness areas of the Sierra
Nevada. In 1921, Willard married Beatrice Armstrong, and after a year of traveling and photographing the deserts of the Southwest,
they settled permanently in Palm Springs and opened a studio and gallery. For the next twenty-five years he traveled throughout
the Colorado and Mojave Deserts and developed a passion for photographing the desert.
To escape the summer heat, he and his wife established a second gallery in Mammoth Lakes and seasonally worked in both locations
photographing the mountains in the summer and the desert in the winter. Willard regarded photography as a fine art and himself
as an artist. His choice of subjects, composition, and use of sharp contrasts combine to make his photographs not only valuable
artistic masterpieces but also a historic record of the desert and mountain environments.
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