CARLETON WATKINS

1829-1916

 

 

Carleton Watkins.

 

Carleton Watkins traveled west in the 1850’s in search of gold. Instead of finding gold, however, he became known for his photographs of Yosemite, the Big Trees, and other natural wonders, mainly in California. He visited the Valley and Big Trees areas seven times, the first trip being in 1861. Watkins was the main photographer for the California Geological Survey in 1864-65. Survey members eventually named the peak above Mirror Lake, Mount Watkins, in his honor. He was also well known for his “mammoth” camera. It was, when extended, three feet long and thirty inches wide and could produce a negative as large as 20x24 inches. He also carried a stereo view camera. These cameras, as well as tripods, glass plates, portable darkroom, etc. weighed as much as 2,000 pounds and had to be transported by mule. Ralph Waldo Emerson decided that Watkins photographs of the Grizzly Giant “made the tree possible," for these photographs provided evidence of its existence. He lost his studio in the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, and passed on in 1916

               

 

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Yosemite Falls – 1865-66

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park – 1960

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Yosemite Valley – 1866

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Cathedral Rock, Yosemite National Park, Calif.  – 1865-66

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Stream with trees and mountains in background, Yosemite Valley, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: color film copy transparency

Lower Yosemite Falls – 1865-66

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Nevada Fall, Yosemite Valley – 1865-66

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Cathedral Rock and spire, with lake and trees in foreground,

Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: color film copy transparency

Front view, Three Brothers, Yosemite – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source:

Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1865-66

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Vernal Fall, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Cathedral Spires, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source:

Stream and trees with Half Dome in background, Yosemite Valley, Calif. – 1865-66

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

A rocky stream at Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: color film copy transparency

Mirror Lake, Yosemite. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Bridalveil Fall from Cathedral Trail, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source:

Sentinel, 3270 ft., stream in foreground and mountain in background,

Yosemite National Park, California – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Three Brothers – 1865-66

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Small pond at base of cliff, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Man seated beneath rock formation at the Upper Yosemite Fall,

Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Stream and trees with Nevada Fall in background, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Trees and cabin with Yosemite Falls in background, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Image, Source: b&w film copy neg.

Reflection of trees and Washington Column in lake, Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 1860

 

 

 

Mirror View of El Capitan

Mirror View of El Capitan - 1872

 

 

Grizzly Giant / C. Watkins

Part of the Trunk of the Grizzley Giant, Mariposa, California – 1861

[Individual in foreground is Galen Clark]

 

 

 

Mariposa Grove / C. Watkins

Grizzly Giant, Mariposa Grove – 1861

 

 

 

Yosemite Panorama / C. Watkins

Yosemite Valley Panorama

 

 

 

1st View of Valley / C. Watkins

First View of the Valley – 1866

 

 

 

Tree Tops / C. Watkins

Among the Treetops-Calaveras Grove - 1878

 

 

 

Agassiz Column / C. Watkins

Agassiz Column - Date Unknown

 

 

 

6. View down the valley from Union point, Yosemite

View down the Valley from Union point, Yosemite – Date Unknown

 

 

 

9. The Yosemite falls

The Yosemite Falls – Date Unknown

 

 

 

20. In the heart of the Sierras, California

In the heart of the Sierras, California – Date Unknown

 

 

 

47. River mining on the Tuolumne

River Mining on the Tuolumne – Date Unknown

 

 

 

10. The Vernal and Nevada falls

The Vernal and Nevada Falls – Date Unknown

 

 

View from Sentinel Dome – 1865-66

 

 

Washington Column – Date Unknown

 

 

 

Watkins #3151 - Yosemite Falls from Union Point, Yosemite Valley, Mariposa County, Cal.

Yosemite Falls from Union Point – Date Unknown

 

 

 

Yowiye, the Nevada Fall, 700 ft., Yosemite Valley, Mariposa County, Cal. – Date Unknown

 

 

 

Watkins #4026 - Lake Tahoe, Sunset from the Warm Springs.

Sunset from the Warm Springs of Lake Tahoe – Date Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

LINKS

 

American Memory Collection

Art Cyclopedia

Biography

The Digital Mirror

George Eastman House

The Getty Museum

The Stereo Views of Carleton Watkins

Yosemite History

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

Adams, Robert. Summer Nights (New Images Book)   (Harry N. Abrams), 1999.

Nickel, Doug. Carleton Watkins. (Henry N. Abrams), 1999.

Palmquist, Peter E. and Carleton E. Watkins, Photographer of the American West. Univ of New Mexico Press), 1983.

Palmquist, Peter E.  and Watkins, Carleton E. Carleton E. Watkins - Photographs, 1861-1874. (Fraenkel Gallery), 1989.
Street, Richard S. A Kern County Diary: The Forgotten Photographs of Carleton E. Watkins, 1881-1888. (Kern County Museum), 1983.
Watkins, Carleton. In Focus: Carleton Watkins: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum. (Getty Trust Publications: J.
Paul Getty Museum), 1997.

 

 

 

 

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