Ray Atkeson

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A Ray Atkeson photo of the 1940s Magic Mile chairlift on Mount Hood is preserved in the US Forest Service archives

Ray Atkeson (February 13, 1907 – May 25, 1990) was a U.S. photographer best known for his landscape images, particularly of the American West. His best known photographs are black and white prints, many still popular in galleries, stores, books, traveling art exhibitions, and screensavers. His awards include:

  • Distinguished Citizen of Oregon[1]
  • Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Linfield College[1]
  • Distinguished Service Award[1]
  • Oregon Governor's Art Award[1]
  • Oregon state Photographer Laureate (1987–1990)[2]
  • inducted into the Photographic Hall of Fame[2]


Ray Atkeson was a commercial photographer in Portland, Oregon for seventeen years 1929-1946 after arriving in Oregon in 1927. From 1946-1973 he was a free lancer photographer and published several photo compilations. The photobooks are mostly of Oregon and Washington, but later work included California.[3]

His photographs captured 1930s fishing vessels recently adapted to use engines[4] to women building warships for World War II.[5] Alan Engen[6] called Atkeson "the finest ski photographer ever."[7]

Atkeson lugged around heavy 4x5 camera equipment and photographed a rich variety of winter mountain scenery and activity. Many of his alpine photos were taken before the chairlift was invented and required ski stamina. Among his subjects were Errol Flynn, Yosemite, many of the Oregon and Washington Cascade mountains. In his later years his granddaughter Karen Schmeer assisted him with his work, including driving him to photo-shoot locations after his eyesight began to fail.[8]

Atkeson maintained two homes: one on the Oregon Coast, the other in Portland.[1]

In 1988, Atkeson was one of the chief petitioners for the successful Measure 7 which added 500 miles (800 km) to the Oregon Scenic Waterway System originally formed by an initiative passed in 1970.



  1. ^ a b c d e Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company
  2. ^ a b Ray Atkeson Photography Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ David J. Weber, Book Review Editor (Winter 1973). "Book Review, The Pacific Coast". The Journal of San Diego History. San Diego Historical Society. 19. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  4. ^ Oregon History Project
  5. ^ Oregon History Project
  6. ^ Alan Engen is the son of ski champion Alf Engen; Alan is also Chairman Emeritus for the Alf Engen Ski Museum Board of Trustees; University of Utah Ski Team 1958–1962 co-captain; second place 1960 National Alpine Championship; third place 1960 NCAA ski championship
  7. ^ "Ski Meister, quarterly journal of the Alf Engen Ski Museum Foundation" (PDF). Spring 2006. p. 5. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  8. ^ Navas, Melissa (January 31, 2010). "Portland native Karen Schmeer, 39, remembered as loyal friend, talented film editor". The Oregonian. Retrieved 1 February 2010. 

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