Peaks and perils: The life of Carleton Watkins

In the 1860s Carleton Watkins loaded a team of mules with his mammoth-plate camera and glass negatives and ventured into Yosemite Valley. The pictures he made there helped lay the foundation for American landscape photography, before the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 destroyed much of his life’s work. Delve into the extraordinary tale of an artist nearly obliterated from history.

Pioneers of Photography

What was photography before film and photographic paper? Before shutters and adjustable apertures? The pioneers of the medium had to experiment and invent. They had to build their own precision equipment and mix reactive chemicals. This series explores the intrepid personalities who toiled in the dark to bring the nascent art of photography to light.

Projects + Perspectives

Find out more about the people and stories that make up SFMOMA. We love what we do and want to share it with you!