As a freelance photographer in Humboldt County in the mid-twentieth century, Merle Shuster captured much of the region’s growth and development during the post-war period. His wide-ranging photograph collection reflects both the diversity of his interests as well as his natural aptitude in the photographic medium. As early as high school, Shuster displayed a passionate interest in photography.
After graduating from Eureka High, he was intensively trained in aerial photography in the navy and successfully established his own business in 1946. In response to his blooming reputation in the region, Shuster was regularly contracted to work for local people, businesses, land developers, and insurance companies. This enabled him to not only document the growth of local business, but to also chronicle the natural beauty, changing landscape, and historic events surrounding Humboldt County’s iconic redwood forests.