Explore dramatic and awe-inspiring images of the natural environment by one of the most important practitioners in the history of photography - Carleton Watkins.
Carleton Watkins is one of the most important practitioners in the history of photography, yet with relatively little public acclaim.
Perhaps best known for his sequence of images of Yosemite – which would lead to the foundation of the first national park in the U.S. – Watkins inspired later photographers such as Ansel Adams, in his pursuit of making thought-provoking, dramatic, and awe-inspiring images of the natural environment.
In the avant-garde of 19th century landscape photographers, Watkins’ aesthetic, coupled with his remarkable skills as an innovator, changed the course of photographic history. His story of early success is tinged by the way in which so much of his original work and archive were ultimately lost and his contribution overlooked. The Society is fortunate to have a sequence of Watkins’ original ‘mammoth plate’ prints which tell the story of this remarkable photographer and his passion for landscape photography.
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Within the Society’s Collections there are some historical images (and image titles or captions) which are recognised as containing unacceptable forms of language, or present image content that is considered inappropriate. In such cases, as part of its Collections policy, the Society maintains access to those images and descriptors as a source of context and information for researchers, recognising that the historical language used or image subjects in themselves do not reflect the Society’s contemporary position as an organisation wholly committed to principles of equality and diversity.
Selected images featured in this online exhibition can be purchased from the RGS Print Store.
This exhibition showcases a selection of platinum prints made from the newly digitised negatives of the 1921 British Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition.
Explore a selection of drawings and watercolours from our Collections, illustrating people and landscapes, many produced decades before the camera became part of the standard expedition kit.
In this richly illustrated online exhibition, Dr Kate Simpson brings to light the vital role African people played in British expeditions to Africa in the 19th and early 20th century.
The history of exploration has often invited celebration; after all, to travel into the unknown is easier said than done. But what, and whom, shall we celebrate?
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