Originally a landscape painter, White began to take photographs in the mid-1850s, focusing his camera on the White Mountains near his home in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Taking advantage of interest in a region that by the mid-nineteenth century had already begun to develop a tourist industry, White published several photographic and stereoscopic albums of his pictures in 1859 and 1860. These "viewbooks," as he called them, were among the first comprehensive attempts to document a specific region. They included close-up views of natural phenomena, such as the trapped boulder, as well as panoramic views of Mount Washington and the Franconia range.
Merry A. Foresta American Photographs: The First Century (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)