Cape Horn, Columbia River, Oregon
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Carleton E. Watkins, photographer; Isaiah West Taber, printer
American, Oregon, negative: 1867, print: about 1881 - 1883
Albumen silver print
15 15/16 x 20 9/16 in.

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In 1867 Carleton Watkins made an expedition to Oregon to obtain photographs of its geology, including the chain of extinct volcanic mountains that cap the coastal range. This view was made from the Washington side of the Columbia River. Even the evidence of a solitary boatman and his cargo does not disturb the landscape's profound serenity, nor does his presence reveal the fact that cultivated farmland and an apple orchard existed nearby. Watkins's image nonetheless portrays a man facing nature at its most grand and overwhelming. The man's boat appears ready to launch into the still, glassy river, an act that will make an indelible imprint on the water's pristine, boundless surface.