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South Dakota's Great Faces: Frank Cundill

6/2/2010
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PIERRE, S.D. – Photography that captures the people and lifestyles of South Dakota is why Frank Cundill is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.
 
Cundill was born Aug. 26, 1887, in Maquoketa, Iowa. His father was a photographer, and  Cundill became interested in photography at a young age. He attended Southern School of Photography in McMinville, Tenn., and after graduation worked as a professional photographer in Fort Wayne, Ind. Cundill eventually went to work in his father’s Iowa studio.
 
Cundill created a homestead nine miles from Firesteel, S.D., in 1911 and lived there for 46 years while taking pictures in South Dakota and selling them on postcards. Cundill is known for photos of rodeos, celebrations, children, homesteading scenes, and Native Americans. He never owned his own studio and often had to send film to be developed and printed in his father’s studio, but Cundill’s photos uniquely portray South Dakota and have historical value.
 
Cundill often photographed people in their natural settings and tried to show everyday life of South Dakotans. He frequently included farm animals and houses as backdrops. Cundill continued photography in retirement.
 
Many of Cundill’s photographs can be seen at the Timber Lake and Area Historical Society. It currently has 235 original 5” by 7” glass plates, 47 original 5” by 7” negatives, 30 original lantern slides, and hundreds of original post card prints. Also on display are cabinet mounts and other Cundill family photographs from the 19th century.
 
South Dakota’s Great Faces weekly press release series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism, designed to highlight people who have had significant impacts on South Dakota, particularly in the visitor industry. Click on the special “South Dakota’s Great Faces” link at www.MediaSD.com to access the complete list of articles. 
 
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