Altwater, Ross

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Ross Altwater was born in Newport, Ohio in 1886. He was an American Commercial and Technical Photographer. Altwater graduated from Marietta College in 1913, and joined siblings Walter, Gordon, and Myrtle May at their commercial photography studio, Altwater and Brother, located on Wood Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. At the time, Altwater and Brother was one of the city’s leading photography firms until it was destroyed by fire in 1959, the year Ross Altwater died.  Altwater favored images of the Pittsburgh steel industry over traditional portraiture, and is known for capturing the beauty, strength, and drama of steel-mill production in Pittsburgh during the thirties and forties. He is credited with the development of “special gold-tone” printing process, production of large-scale photomurals, and the invention of the asbestos-wrapped camera allowing him to photograph aspects of steel production under extreme climatic conditions In addition to numerous commercial commissions; he produced hundreds of fine art prints that earned him acclaim in photographic salons in the United States and abroad.

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