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Minerva's Terraces, Yellowstone National Monument
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Carleton E. Watkins
American, Yellowstone, Wyoming, about 1884 - 1885
Albumen print
15 1/8 x 21 1/8 in.
99.XM.31.2

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At first glance, this image appears to be ordered along the horizontal lines of stone plateaus and distant rolling hills. In fact, Carleton Watkins used two diagonal lines beginning at the lower corners of the photograph and converging in the center of the image as the foundation for the composition. The result is a triangle that accentuates the intersection of multiple terraces. In 1884 Watkins was hired to photograph mining works in the Montana region. During the trip, however, he also photographed natural monuments such as Minerva's Terrace in the Mammoth Hot Springs area of Yellowstone National Park. Although the picture gives the impression of isolated and untouched "wilderness," at least four buildings are visible in the distance.