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Carvalho’s Journey

Steve Rivo’s fascinating 19th-century adventure story documents the extraordinary career of Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815–1897) and his life as a photographer, artist, and pioneer explorer in the American West. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Carvalho was a middle-class portrait painter and an observant Sephardic Jew who had never ridden a horse, much less been in the wilderness. That changed in 1853 when he joined the famed explorer John C. Frémont on his Fifth Westward Expedition, a 2,400-mile journey from New York City to California. Carvalho’s journal entries provide a dramatic first-person account of his journey, including near-death experiences, encounters with Native Americans, and a surprising meeting with Mormon leader Brigham Young. Maintaining devotion to his family and Jewish faith as he captured stunning images of epic landscapes, his lasting images became a lens through which the world experienced the American West. 

Appears in: Special Screenings

Genres: Documentary