Sunday, July 1, 2012

Peter Stackpole, LIFE Photographer

Peter Stackpole was one of the first photographers on the staff for LIFE Magazine when it began as a weekly in 1936 along with such luminaries as Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White. He was also known as a longtime chronicler of life in California and as such shot such images as the lucky lifeguard’s CJ (along with bathing beauties...). He also shot the second outing of the Hemet Jeep Cavalcade in 1949 in southern California near the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The Anza-Borrego S.P. is the largest in California comprising 500 miles of dirt road, hiking trails and wilderness areas. The Hemet Jeep Club is still going today and is one of the oldest automobile clubs in the country. The HJC still stands for the same things today that it did then, the safe and responsible enjoyment of the trails available for the off road community.
When Stackpole tagged along in 1949 he shot a huge variety of great shots of early CJs, MBs, GPWs and even Ford GPs on the trail. These photos are some of my favorites in the LIFE Magazine Photo Archive. They show the original bare bones approach and the genesis of the use of the jeep for a vehicle of play rather than simply as a workhorse. Everyone looked like they had a great time on this ride and it sets the bar for what would be a good trail ride today! More info can be found here at eWillys on this trail ride. Enjoy them! You’ve probably seen some of these photos before but now you may get to see what I hope is all of them here.
Come back next week when I will start going through many of the anonymous or uncredited LIFE photos that I’ve discovered since beginning this project. I hope that there will be some surprises for you here. Check out all of the photos thus far here.

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