Carleton Watkins: The Stanford Albums
328 Lomita Drive
Stanford, CA 94305
Even though the Civil War was raging and the 38th Congress was struggling to pass the 13th Amendment, the House managed to pass an act that seemed far less important at the time, but which ultimately paved the way for the National Park System. The Yosemite Grant Act of 1864 was the first official step toward preserving the Sierra Nevada, and it may have never been signed if it weren't for a talented landscape photographer named Carleton Watkins, whose pictures of Yosemite Valley helped convince President Lincoln to pass the act. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant, the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University presents Carleton Watkins: The Stanford Albums. The exhibit features more than 80 photographs taken by the pioneering photographer who was known for his mammoth prints, so called because they were made with 18 x 22-inch glass-plate negatives. The work on display comes from three of Watkins' most prized albums: "Photographs of the Yosemite Valley" (1861 and 1856-66), "Photographs of the Pacific Coast (1862-76), and "Photographs of the Columbia River and Oregon" (1867 and 1870). Come witness the stark beauty, immensity, and strength of the natural world--just as Watkins saw it through his camera lens.