Photographer: Alli Vonrae
Hangtown Photo Shoot: 02/26/2015


Hangtown received its nick name because there were many hangings in the town during the mining days. Not too long after James Marshall discovered gold in late January of 1848 in Coloma, the Gold Rush began. With the Gold Rush came miners, soldiers, merchants and thieves. The mining camps were dangerous and many robberies took place.

The first account of hangings took place in 1849. Three men were accused of stealing, stood trial, and were quickly found guilty. When the question was posed to the people, “what are we going to do with these men,” they shouted “hang em.”  The town’s official name, Placerville, has had its ups and downs but “Hangtown” has stood the test of time. I was born in Hangtown in 1972 and I am proud of this small, yet historically significant, town.

For the photo shoot my hope was to capture the old feel of Hangtown, while implementing aspects of modern day. The “Mother Lode,” is full of discovery, you should check it out when you have a chance.

I chose to create high contrast black and white images and added a textured blended background to give the images a subtle but gritty feel. I found myself paying attention to shadows, lines, and shapes.