Steve Davis


Steve Davis is a historian and documentary photographer living in Reno. His photographic projects include Childhood Memory and Sense of Place in Northern Nevada and Stories from the Front Lines: Portraits and Stories about the Lives of Cancer Patients, their Families, and Caregivers. He has documented the changing nature of agricultural and open lands in northern Nevada, as well as in Minnesota and California. His entire photographic archive has been acquired by Special Collections at the University of Nevada, Reno for their permanent collection. Steve is the former Assistant Director of Nevada Humanities. He loves the Great Basin and travels its deserts and mountains as often as possible.

Photo credit: Peter Goin



The invention of photography in 1839 roughly paralleled American movement into the West (the Donner Party traveled in 1846–1847). With surprising speed, photographers - with their bulky equipment and primitive technology - began recording every facet of western life, including landscape and people, manifestations of economic activity such as mining and railroads, and aspects of daily life. Some photographers accompanied exploratory expeditions, while others tried to make a living through portraiture and documenting life in their communities.

Join historian and photographer, Steve Davis, for a fascinating look at the people and places of the West, in a presentation illustrated by numerous photographs taken within Nevada. Images displayed will include those taken during President U.S. Grant’s visit to Virginia City, during the construction of the transcontinental railroad, and at Wyatt Earp’s saloon in Tonopah. Davis also looks into the technical and cultural background of the era to provide context for the images.

Appropriate Audience:  Adults; high school students.

Duration: Between 1-1 ½ hours. Please discuss the appropriate length for your organization with the Presenter.

Presenter Requirements: 

  • Means for projecting images from Presenter’s laptop

If equipment indicated above is unavailable, please discuss alternatives with Presenter.

Categories: Nevada, history, photography