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Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographsby Carleton E. Watkins
Synopses & Reviews
Book News Annotation:
This is a catalogue raisonné presenting 1,273 photos, three to a page, with descriptions; only about 300 have been previously reproduced or exhibited. Carleton Watkins (1829-1916) was one of the premier photographers of the West, but the extent of his work was not discovered until the 1970s. The glass plates he used to produce his images were "mammoth"--measuring 18x22 inches. This volume, which is also mammoth (10x13"), represents many years of work by editors Naef (curator emeritus, photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum) and Hult-Lewis, an independent scholar based in San Francisco. They have documented Watkins' work from collections at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Bancroft Library at the U. of California, Berkeley, the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, and numerous smaller collections. After a section devoted to Watkins' early development as a photographer, arrangement is by locale or subject matter, including Yosemite Valley, San Francisco, the Pacific coast, the California missions, railroads and agriculture, and mining, among other themes. Each body of work is supported by an essay written by the editors and others, as well as maps and other images. Annotation Â©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The extraordinary body of work produced by photographer Carleton Watkins (1829–1916) between 1858 and 1891 constitutes one of the longest and most productive careers in nineteenth-century American photography. Nearly thirteen hundred “mammoth” (18 x 22 inch) glass-plate negatives were produced, the majority of which exist in only one surviving print. Of these, fewer than three hundred have been previously reproduced or exhibited.
Drawing on the major collections of Watkins prints at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, and numerous smaller collections, the authors have assembled and catalogued all of Watkins’s known mammoth-plate photographs. These include views of Yosemite, San Francisco, and the Pacific Coast, as well as railroads, mines, and lumber mills throughout the west. The work will contribute not only to a fuller understanding of this pioneering photographer but also portray the barely explored frontier in its final moments of pristine beauty. The catalogue is organized by region and includes an inventory of Watkins’s negatives and an illustrated guide to his signatures, both of value to scholars, collectors, and dealers.
About the Author
Weston Naef is curator emeritus in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Christine Hult-Lewis is an independent scholar, based in San Francisco.
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