CARLETON E. WATKINS Washington Column, 208 Feet, Yosemite, c. 1865-66

CARLETON E. WATKINS (American b. 1829)

Born in Oneonta, New York, he moved to California as a young man and after a brief apprenticeship in a portrait photography gallery, he became the owner of his own photographic studio. He took opportunities to photograph the landscape, especially Yosemite. In the early 1860s Watkins began photographing mines for those who required views of geographic features as evidence in legal cases. When mining operations caused pollution and flooding, Watkins's photographs became valuable evidence in an environmental suit.