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Wednesday, 14 January 2009


More shows in the Bay Area.

From the Photocentral gallery, a program of the Hayward Area Recreation District.


Dear Mike,

Regarding the Watkins book, you are to my wallet as a crow bar is to a wooden crate. Ouch! I can't afford to read T.O.P. any more. ;~)



I leafed through Carleton Watkins's book at the Getty store and didn't buy it. You know when you look back and wonder why on Earth you did/didn't do something that so obviously shouldn't/should have been done? This is clearly one of those times.

On the plus side, the Getty was selling it for $30, while Amazon has it for $19.77, so we can buy it through your link and help TOP as well as saving money. Maybe I did the right thing by not buying it after all :-)

As to the quality of the book, while I don't have your experience with photo publications, I did find the photos to be well reproduced. While some look faded and with little contrast, that is because the originals look that way. We have to bear in mind that we're dealing with daguerreotypes and albumen prints over a century old.

Anyone living in L.A. would be unwise not to visit this exhibition. For the rest, buy the book!


When the Watkins show was up at the Metropolitan Museum in New York several years ago, I looked at the catalogue and couldn't buy it, because I thought it would obscure my memory of the prints themselves, which really are fantastic.

Mostly off topic, although you also advice on books in this post. Just wanted to say that I'm thoroughly enjoying a previous recommendation; Annie Leibovitz At Work.
Best, Nick

I saw the Getty Center Carelton Watkins show a couple of weeks ago and it is excellent. As is the Getty's forte, it is both well chosen and very well mounted and lit. It's a particular treat to sit down at the stereo viewers (new but styled in the manner of the old ones) and look at the images that way. Two of the mammoth plate images are also from the area where I live - one from Albion Harbor and one of Big River just south of Mendocino. I'd just been boating out of Albion a few weeks before, working as boat crew for my brother-in-law, the underwater photographer Marc Shargel. It was fascinating to see the rock that forces you to make a dogleg turn just past the river mouth in a photo from so long ago.

I saw the Watkins exhibit while in LA over the holidays. It was well worth the trip.

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