The work of Cal Crook, a local photographer who passed away in 2000, is being featured in the January 2010 issue of Arizona Highways.
The magazine feature, titled "Trip of a Lifetime," was written by Cal Crook's daughter, Jan Crook Pierson. The article showcases her father's historic photographic images captured in Monument Valley, Ariz.
Cal Crook became a local legend in the Columbia River Gorge where he retired on five acres of land near BZ Corner, realizing his dreams as a photographer. Most knew Crook for his rare images of Celilo Falls (circa 1948) and the surrounding Columbia Gorge countryside, but few knew he had also captured stunning photographic images from around the world, including the Navajo people in Arizona.
In 1946, when he was a teacher on his summer break, Crook climbed on to a pack mule and embarked on an unforgettable journey into the heart of Navajo civilization. The Navajo people welcomed him, grinding and sharing their corn and coffee; carding sheep and goat wool and weaving colorful rugs on the looms against the backdrop of the Yei Bechei Rocks where sky and sand wove an even more magnificent tapestry.
Crook's daughter chronicles her father's hardscrabble journey out of poverty with a broom, a mop, and a dream, finally obtaining his master's degree in education and a career as a science teacher and elementary school principal. But photography was his first love. After retirement, Crook spent his remaining 45 years in the Mount Adams countryside, realizing his dreams as a photographer.
In 2000, at the age of 96, Crook laid down his tripod forever. But his rich photographic legacy remains in the Columbia River Gorge and throughout the world.
Arizona Highways magazine is circulated in all 50 states and in countries around the world. The magazine is available in December.