Albumen print from wet collodion negative
Image: 40.1 x 52.4 cm (15 13/16 x 20 5/8 in.); Matted: 61 x 76.2 cm (24 x 30 in.)
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1992.12
In the 1850s, Carleton Watkins took up landscape as a field photographer, providing clients with views they could use to settle property disputes. He made his first trip to Yosemite in 1861 and returned many times, frequently as a member of geological surveys. This image is a remarkable example of Watkin's mammoth plate work (roughly 18 x 21 inches) in Yosemite and is among the greatest achievements in American photography. His landmark Yosemite photographs were distinguished by their early manifestation of a deliberately artistic point of view and for their systematic emphasis on the landscape as a pristine wilderness, untouched by civilization. The large glass negative and albumen printing process not only allowed Watkins to depict spectacular views with clarity and fidelity, but also enabled him to convey effects of light and atmosphere.
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