19th Century Los Angeles Through the Lens of Carleton Watkins

During the course of his long and distinguished career, 19th century landscape photographer Carleton E. Watkins (1829-1916) produced an extraordinary body of work comprised of stereoviews and nearly thirteen hundred “mammoth” (18 x 22 inch) glass-plate negatives. Famous for his images of Yosemite, early San Francisco, New Almaden, Mendocino, and the Sierra Nevada mining regions, he also produced some of the earliest photographs of Los Angeles.

Image: Carleton E. Watkins, The City of Los Angeles from Fort Hill, Los Angeles County, 1877. Albumen print; 4 x 5½ in. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.Despite Watkins’ acclaim and the historic and artistic value of his work, fewer than 300 of his mammoth images were ever exhibited or reproduced. That is, until now. With the November publication of Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs, photography lovers, historians and collectors alike can study, learn from and delight in the first book that documents all of Watkins’ known mammoth-plate photographs.

To celebrate the book’s publication, Photo Friends of the Los Angeles Library are hosting an evening with authors Weston Naef, the former head of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s photography department and Jennifer Watts, The Huntington’s Curator of Photographs. Together they will present an illustrated discussion of Watkins’ working method and imagery.


When: Saturday, December 10 from 2 – 3 pm

Where: Taper Auditorium, Central Library, located at 630 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles, CA 90071

Cost: Free

Parking: Parking is available at 524 S. Flower St. Garage (show your LAPL library card at the Central Library’s information desk to receive a validation for reduced rates).

More Information:
Central Library Calendar Listing
Photo Friends web site 

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