We had the honor of talking to photography scholar and Carleton Watkins expert Weston Naef about this particular print, read his insights here!
People had lived in the Yosemite Valley for a few thousand years before the area experienced its first "tourists": entrepreneur James Mason Hutchings and artist Thomas Ayres. The two created a publicity campaign proclaiming Yosemite to be a paradise. As the valley became the new travel destination, it also brought in many artists, including Carleton Watkins.
Watkins worked with a mammoth-plate camera and 18"x22" glass plates, using the wet-collodion technique to create rich, detailed images. His equipment load came out to around two thousand pounds, all resting on the backs of a dozen mules. It is truly a miracle these images survived the trip! His photographs of Yosemite were the first seen back East. The power of these majestic landscapes were a major influence on President Lincoln, who signed the Yosemite Grant in 1864, placing the Yosemite Valley under federal protection (and ultimately paving the way for the National Parks Service).
"Watkins would have been proud of these 20x200 prints of his images, and he was someone who knew how to judge quality as he was an early expert in reproducing photographs. He began photography in the gold rush era around 1849, when the only way to reproduce a daguerreotype was to copy it with a camera because there was no negative and each one was unique like a fingerprint." ... Read more from Weston Naef on the blog!
+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Certificate of authenticity signed and numbered by our head curator is included
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available
Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.
10"x8" | edition of 20
14"x11" | edition of 500
20"x16" | edition of 100
24"x20" | edition of 50
40"x30" | edition of 10