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Carleton Watkins

Carleton Eugene Watkins (1829-1916) found international fame for his award winning photographs of Yosemite, San Francisco, the Pacific coast and subjects throughout the western states of the US. This series of vintage photographs are from prints held in the Royal Geographical Society's Archive in London. Watkins was born in Oneonta, New York on November 11, 1829, the eldest of eight children. In 1851 he joined California gold rush where he met photographer Robert Vance who had a gallery in San Francisco and taught him the photographic skills which were to establish his name. By 1858 he was working on his own, taking on a number of photographic commissions and in July 1861 he traveled to Yosemite equipped with a mammoth plate camera, which used 18 by 22 inch glass plate negatives, and a stereoscopic camera. He returned with 30 mammoth plate and 100 stereoscopic negatives. These photographs and later Yosemite images, established him as a master of landscape photography. He won many awards during his career, starting in 1865 with an award for 'Mountain Views' at the Mechanics' Institute Exhibition in San Francisco. In 1867 Watkins won a medal for landscape photographs at the Paris International Exposition. He travelled widely, making photographic excursions to Northern California, Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada mountains as well as Utah. By the mid-1890's Watkins deteriorating eyesight and other health problems impacted his ability to work. The earthquake of 1906 destroyed his studio along with the negatives of his life's work. He died on June 23, 1916 at the age of eighty-seven.

Sets by Carleton Watkins

Carleton Watkins - Vintage Yosemite

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