Carleton Watkins: Making the West American


Product Details

$34.95  $32.50
University of California Press
Publish Date
6.3 X 1.8 X 9.3 inches | 2.75 pounds

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About the Author

Tyler Green is an award-winning critic and historian. He is the producer and host of The Modern Art Notes Podcast, America's most popular audio program on art, and was previously the editor of the website Modern Art Notes, which published from 2001 to 2014. This is his first book.


"[a] fascinating and indispensable book."--Christopher Knight, "Los Angeles Times "
"...the most meticulously researched portrait of the photographer to date, adding a treasure trove of compelling new details. . . .Green skillfully weaves a web of historical context around Watkins, placing him and his photographs as connectors to major cultural, political, and industrial changes, most especially the burgeoning conservation movement, the railroad industry and settlement of the West, and the men and women who shaped the region."--Oregon Historical Quarterly
"...the more that Green reveals about this enigmatic figure the more you want to see. As Green does with the events of Watkins' life, he builds a web of beauty and risk, of boom and bust, and of serenity and exploitation in and in between Watkins' pictures. There are still plenty of shadows, but Green puts us in a better place to see into them."--David D'Arcy, "San Francisco Chronicle "
"Carleton Watkins is a treasure of a book, which hopefully will bring more attention to this particular photographer's work and achievement. With its numerous illustrations of photographs discussed by the author, in all likelihood a reader will come away with a deep sense of appreciation of both the artist in question but also his biographer." --Jörg M. Colberg, "Conscientious Photography Magazine "
"Tyler Green's marvellous biography of the gold rush photographer Carleton Watkins, who more or less created the image of America's midwest, is all startling drama in both the life and art."--Laura Cumming, "The Guardian "
"Green's clearly written chronological narrative traces Watkins's life and career. His inclusion of many of Watkins's most notable photographs enriches the portrait of a photographer whose work left an indelible mark on an expanding country. This is a book to be appreciated both textually and visually."
--Foreword Reviews
"This is highly effective scholarship that maps out art, politics and science in which Watkins takes his place alongside his fellow photographer Eadweard Muybridge."--The Art Newspaper
"...the book is convincing in its central argument, relating the sublimity of Watkins's photography to American Transcendentalism, particularly the poetry of Emerson. It is also quite beautiful on the meanings of early Californian culture. In this sense Green's research is not just about Watkins, but about the significance of the American West, and in some ways the definition of America itself. Ultimately, the book makes a strong case for photography as the first and most American art: much like Watkins's work, Making the West American is at once technical and transcendent."--Aperture