Lora Webb Nichols

Bert Oldman, 1906 © Lora Webb Nichols


Photographs Made, Photographs Collected



This collection of black and white images by Lora Webb Nichols (1883-1962) chronicling the frontier of south-central Wyoming in the early 20th century is unparalleled in its historical significance and visual storytelling.

September 30 – November 19, 2022



Art exhibit viewing times: Tues. – Fri. (11 am – 5 pm); Sat. (noon – 4 pm)


Panel Discussion:
On Saturday, October 8th at 2 PM an in-person panel discussion will take place at our gallery. Moderated by Samantha Johnston, CPAC Executive Director & Curator, guests will hear from Nicole Jean Hill, Co-curator of the Lora Webb Nichols Collections, and Jennifer Sanchez, Photo Archivist/Digital Reproductions Manager at University of Colorado Boulder.

Opening Reception:
Friday, October 7th between 6 – 9 pm at CPAC. This event is free and open to the public.


“What Nichols left behind might be the largest photographic record of this era and region in existence: thousands of portraits, still lives, domestic interiors and landscapes, all made with an unfussy, straightforward, often humorous eye toward the small textures and gestures of every day life.” – Sarah Blackwood, The New Yorker

Lora Webb Nichols (1883-1962) created and collected approximately 24,000 negatives over the course of her lifetime in the mining town of Encampment. Nichols received her first camera in 1899 at the age of 16, coinciding with the rise of the region’s copper mining boom.

The earliest photographs are of her immediate family, self-portraits, and landscape images of the cultivation of the region surrounding the town of Encampment. She made images in Encampment over the course of several decades, resulting in an intimacy and candor in the photographs that is unexpected and captivating.

Additionally, Nichols created formal portraits of the workers and travelers passing through the region, including a collection of portraits of the young men who arrived in the area to complete public works projects with the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930s.

Given the period of time the collection spans, the isolation of the Encampment community, and Lora Webb Nichols’ gender, this collection of images is unparalleled in its historical significance and visual storytelling. Throughout two marriages, the rearing of six children, the proprietorship of several small businesses, and the relocation to California, Lora made and collected photographs. The resulting images present a tender view of this Wyoming community.



With an anthropological approach to image making, Nicole Jean Hill is an artist using photography and video to explore familiar spaces and activities within the American cultural and natural landscape. She was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio and received a BFA in photography from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her photographs have been exhibited throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia, including Gallery 44 in Toronto, the Australia Centre for Photography in Sydney, and the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been featured in the Magenta Foundation publication Flash Forward: Emerging Photography from the U.S., U.K., and Canada, the Humble Art Foundation’s The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Photography, and National Public Radio. Hill has been an artist-in-residence at several arts organizations and universities including the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah, the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, and the Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in Humboldt County, California and is a Professor of Art at California Polytechnic University – Humboldt.

Hill is also the co-curator of the Lora Webb Nichols collections, housed at the American Heritage Center in Laramie, Wyoming. Lora Webb Nichols (1883-1962) created and collected approximately 24,000 negatives over the course of her lifetime in the mining town of Encampment, Wyoming. The images chronicle the domestic, social, and economic aspects of the sparsely populated frontier of south-central Wyoming throughout the early 20th century. Nicole Jean Hill has been working on preserving this archive in collaboration with Nancy Anderson since 2013, including digitizing the photographs, organizing the corresponding text, recovering the photographer’s diaries and letters, and collaborating with the Grand Encampment Museum and the American Heritage Center to secure a permanent home for the negatives.