Sep 2, 2004

Yosemite Valley from Mariposa Trail

Yosemite Valley from Mariposa Trail

c. 1865

Charles Leander Weed

(American, 1824–1903)

Mammoth albumen print from wet collodion negative

Image: 39.7 x 51.7 cm (15 5/8 x 20 3/8 in.); Mounted: 55.6 x 71 cm (21 7/8 x 27 15/16 in.); Matted: 71.1 x 81.3 cm (28 x 32 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2002.43



In 1859, Charles L. Weed made the first photographs of the wild and breathtakingly beautiful Yosemite region in California. These pioneering photographs spoke of the area's splendors to future visitors and artists. Probably five years later, he returned to Yosemite to begin creating his remarkable mammoth plate views (roughly 17x22 inches). This celebrated vista of the distant, mountainous, forest scene is the best known of Weed's modest production of large-scale photographs. The serenity and order of the composition is punctuated by an isolated, spindly tree perched at a cliff's edge, asymmetrically dividing the composition while uniting the blank sky with the mountainous landscape below. The figure leaning against the tree in the foreground gives scale to the scene and suggests human isolation in the vastness of nature.

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