Ben Wittick (1845-1903) Biography
Ben Wittick (1845-1903)
George Benjamin Wittick was a known and active photographer in New Mexico in the late 19th century and early 20th century. He is best known for taking the only surviving photograph of Billy the Kid and also for his photograph of Geronimo.
Wittick was born in Pennsylvania, he later lived in Illinois, and then he headed west in 1878 pursuing photography. He first worked for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroads, but later established his first photography studio in Gallup, New Mexico. During his career, he photographed many subjects to include the railroad; southwestern landscapes such as Canyon de Chelly, the Navajo Reservation, and Pueblo scenes; and the Native peoples mostly the Apache, Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni. He also painted scenes of the American expansion westward as well. He carried with him a collection of props for his photographs to include rifles, pistols, blankets, pottery, and more. Most of his photographs were taken outside using the natural sunlight against backdrops.
In 1900, he established his last studio at Fort Wingate. He later died in 1903 of a rattlesnake bite at Fort Wingate, which was foretold by a Hopi priest.