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Mirror View, Yosemite Valley, Mariposa County, Cal.

A work made of albumen print, stereo.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of albumen print, stereo.




Carleton Watkins
American, 1829–1916

About this artwork

Stereographs were made by taking two photographs of the same scene with lenses about two and a half inches apart to match the distance between human eyes. Viewed through a stereoscope, the two images combine to give the illusion of depth. Enormously popular as items for both entertainment and education, millions of stereographs were produced from 1850 to 1930, documenting disasters, expeditions, monuments, and exotic locations. Carleton Watkins first photographed Yosemite in 1861, and his views of the valley portrayed this newly seen American West as pristine and majestic. In addition to his “mammoth-plate” camera that produced 18 x 22–inch negatives, Watkins had made approximately 1,400 stereo negatives by the end of 1866, which were packaged in series and sold singly or by the dozen to tourists and casual customers. In this image, Watkins’s common use of mirroring as a pictorial device is enhanced by the startling three-dimensional effect of the stereo view.


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Photography and Media


Carleton Watkins


Mirror View, Yosemite Valley, Mariposa County, Cal.


United States


Made 1861–1876


Albumen print, stereo


Printed recto, on card, along left side: "Watkins' Pacific Coast. / 26 Montgomery St., opposite Lick House entrance, San Francisco." printed recto, on card, along right side, in black ink: "Photographic Views of California, Oregon, and the Pacific Coast generally, embracing Yo Semite, Big Trees, Geysers, Mount Shasta, Mning, City etc., etc. Views made to order in any part of the State or Coast." typed, lower center, in black ink: "Mirror View, 1121. / Yosemite Valley, Mariposa County, Cal."


7.9 × 7.9 cm (each image); 8.7 × 17.6 cm (card)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of the Kunstadter Family Foundation

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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