Roland Reed Gallery
ROLAND REED GALLERY OPENS
IN STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO
Jace Romick remembers the moment he first saw The Eagle, the now iconic image taken by Roland Reed circa 1912. He remains in awe of the photograph he feels exemplifies the ingrained relationship between the indigenous population and the landscape of the United States of America. The Eagle set Jace on a quest to find out more about this photographer, whose exquisite images earned him a place in the Smithsonian Institute, but few know much about.
Jace is a professional photographer who related to Reed’s passion and purpose to document a fragile way of life, at risk of forever being altered. Although he would never pertain to the scale and importance of Reed’s work, he too, is driven by a devotion to document fading elements of Western life for future generations. While Reed focused his narrative on the indigenous peoples, Jace is fixated on the dwindling population of iconic wild horses.
Today’s photographer has the luxury of digital imagery and ease of travel to cover the epic landscapes of the West. Reed did not. The magnitude of what he accomplished on horseback carting bulky equipment and fragile glass plate negatives, that have stood the test of time, is a feat. The fact Reed failed to achieve national recognition dismayed Jace and motivated him to change this.
Upon Reed’s death in 1934, his life’s works, and personal artifacts were left to his cousin Roy Williams, who continued to promote Reed’s mission to educate the American people about the “lost” traditions of the indigenous population. After Williams passed the collection fell to his own heirs and spent decades locked in a safe, until it was bought by the owners of the Kramer Gallery in Minneapolis. They represented Reed’s work until they retired in 2010 and the collection – the largest in the world, was once again unseen, untouched and unavailable.
In spring 2021, Jace Romick had the opportunity to buy the whole collection of Reed’s artifacts directly from the Kramer’s and fulfil a personal dream. He was in a spot to finally open the only Roland Reed Gallery in the world, to showcase Reed’s personal collection and honor an artist he feels deserves recognition for his contribution to history.
Like Reed, Jace is a perfectionist who is making it his own mission to represent Reed’s work with integrity and the parallel precision for detail. Every decision about how Reed’s images are conveyed involves the question, “what would Reed do?” Jace feels an eerie sense of responsibility to embody Reed’s message using Reed’s personal collection, which until now has spent half of the last century untouched.
In July 2022, Jace opened his gallery bearing Reed’s name in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It is testament to a man who dedicated 30 years of his life to photograph the “lost ways” of our indigenous people, purely from a place of utter admiration. That admiration continues through Jace, who honors Reed’s legacy from a platform he believes is long overdue.
“I'm so glad Roland is getting a gallery named after him. I was the Archivist in charge of Roland Reed’s photos at the Smithsonian and they are some of my favorite views.” Paula Richardson Fleming, Photographic Historian and Archivist (retired) Smithsonian Institution.
“Roland Reed took phenomenal images that are important to people who love North American artifacts and Jace Romick is able to maintain their authenticity by making equally phenomenal prints from the original plates.”
Brian Lebel, foremost expert on Western antiques and founder of Old West Events.