Emery and Ellsworth Kolb founded a photographic studio at the Bright Angel trailhead, on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, in 1903. At first it was nothing more than a small cave in the side of the canyon wall but later they erected a two-story wooden structure overlooking the Canyon. They began a very profitable and adventuresome career as commercial photographers, snapping photos of tourists on mules as they rode down the canyon trails. In the process they provided historical records of early tourism in Grand Canyon National Park.
The Kolb brothers recorded the first adventure movie down the Colorado River in 1912. The movie ran at the Grand Canyon from 1915 until 1976—the year Emery Kolb died—making it the longest-running movie in history.
The Kolb brothers were active participants in the promotion of Grand Canyon, photographing visitors, viewpoints, and areas of the park, establishing the park as a site of national pride and a worldwide icon.