Happy Birthday to Carleton Watkins, born on November 11, 1829, in Oneonta, New York. After first moving to California in 1851 to search for gold, Watkins quickly took to photography. He found early fame for his award-winning work, and his photographs of Yosemite Valley are widely credited as influencing Congress and President Lincoln to preserve it as what would eventually become a national park. Yet bad luck in business and natural disaster led Watkins to die destitute and all-but-forgotten in 1916. Peaks and Perils: The Life of Carleton Watkins comes from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s ‘Pioneers of Photography’ series – the same series from which we drew the Julia Margaret Cameron video.
Thank you Tyler Green, today’s Guest Editor of the Day, for selecting our Video of the Day. Green is an historian, award-winning critic, and author of the highly acclaimed recently released biography, Carleton Watkins: Making the West American. Buy your copy today.