Grant Collier may not have dreamed of becoming a professional photographer as a young man, but there is no denying the talent runs in his veins.
His great, great grandfather was Joseph Collier, a Scottish photographer who moved in 1871 to Central City to open a studio. Joseph Collier is most famous for being one of Colorado’s first pioneering photographers, traveling extensively to capture the state’s scenic vistas.
Many years after Joseph first stepped into the Colorado wilderness, Grant was tasked with organizing some his great, great grandfather’s photographs on behalf of their owner, a local bank. Although Grant had taken some photography classes at Pomona College in Los Angeles — and would stop to shoot pictures during his many road trips between school and his Colorado foothills home — photography at the time was still little more than a hobby.
But after being exposed to Joseph Collier’s works, Grant decided to literally follow in his great, great grandfather’s footsteps. His first collection of photography was published in 2001 in the book, “Colorado: Then and Now.” The book features side-by-side comparisons of photos Grant shot from the exact same locations as Joseph Collier more than 100 years earlier.
“I wanted to see how things have changed,” Grant said. “I also thought it would be a great way to get into photography (as a career).”
Since then, Grant has published nine books and several wall calendars and prints.
On Monday he celebrated the latest milestone in his career with the grand opening of Collier Gallery, 100 N. Main St. in Breckenridge.
Since publishing his first book, Grant has expanded his list of subjects to include Colorado’s national parks and monuments, as well as popular natural attractions in Utah and around the world.
“Arches National Park is one of my favorite places to shoot,” Collier said. “I’ve already done a book, but I recently got into night photography and there are few better places than the arches.
“The San Juans are my favorite to shoot in Colorado, but I’ll be exploring my night photography here in Breckenridge (for the time being) now that the gallery is open.”
Collier Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. The gallery is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Books, prints and calendars may also be purchased online at www.gcollier.com.