Carleton E. Watkins (American, 18291916)
Albumen silver print from glass negative; 15 11/16 x 20 5/8 in. (39.8 x 52.4 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1989 (1989.1082)
This tortured landscape shows Devil's Canyon, which is cited in William Bentley's Hand-Book of the Pacific Coast (1884) as a "favored resort for pleasure seekers" from nearby San Francisco. Located in Sonoma County, its chief feature was a crevasse six feet in diameter known as the "Steam Pipe," a Dantean inferno from which steam bellowed forth with a blast that often exceeded the scream of a locomotive whistle. The tiny figure on the left, a surrogate for the viewer, is rare in Watkins' work and is thought to be the photographer himself.