Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Photographer Patrons


It's interesting to note how different photographers picked up patrons among the owners of the Central Pacific.

Hart's patron was E. B. Crocker, and Hart's work came to an end not long after E. B.'s stroke took him out of active management.

Somewhat later Muybridge found a patron in Stanford.

But the best patronage was received by Watkins from C. P. Huntington. Huntington and Watkins had traveled from Oneonta, New York, to California in the same Gold Rush immigrant party, and Watkins received periodic support throughout his life from Huntington, including the gift of a ranch in Capay Valley around the turn of the century. With the departure of Hart, Huntington saw to it that Watkins received the Hart negatives that the CP had purchased. (Watkins reprinted them regularly, retaining the Hart image numbers and captions.) This also explains why when in 1874 Watkins lost all his negatives to creditors, he did not loose the CP negatives - they still belonged to the railroad. Ultimately they were destroyed with the rest of Watkins' negatives (including his early negatives acquired by Taber in 1874) in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

—Kyle Wyatt