Carlton Watkins display of early Yosemite & Half Dome prints
Last week I attended the large display of Carlton Watkins prints of Yosemite. It includes several he took of Half Dome. The event is at the Stanford University Cantor Museum of Arts in Palo Alto. It runs until August 17. It is free. The Cantor is a first class center with many Rodin original bronze sculptures. My favorite is the Thinker and The Kiss.
Back to Yosemite Photographer Carlton Watkins. Originally from New York, he arrived in the West in 1849. He photographed much of the Pacific Coast. His prints were unique in that he used a custom-built unit that made “mammoth” 18 x 22-inch glass-plate negatives. The prints are huge and very clear and crisp. He kept the shutter open so moving water is slightly blurred.
His photographs of Yosemite helped convince Abraham Lincoln to pass the Yosemite Valley Grant Act. There are more than 80 original mammoth prints on display, 30 of which are of Yosemite scenes. Other than Half Dome, you will see Cathedral Rocks, El Capitan, waterfalls, Mirror Lake and Yosemite Falls.
The 1906 earthquake and fire burned all his negatives and prints. Gone. He was very depressed and never recovered. He was committed to Napa State Hospital. He died there in 1916.
As a Yosemite lover, you need to go. Point your GPS to 328 Lomita Dr, Stanford, CA 94305
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Photographs and memories, Christmas cards you sent to me. All that I have are these to remember you.” – Jim Croce
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com