Page last updated: October 14, 2022

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Glass Plate Photographs of Early 20th-Century Yosemite

By Harold A. Taylor

Edited by Robert Elliott and Susan Entsminger


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From 1902-1907, Harold A. Taylor photographed Yosemite, operating out of his Studio of the Three Arrows in Yosemite Valley, and using dry glass plate negatives. Glass plate negatives, though fragile and heavy, permit stunning clarity and depth of light—and celluloid would all but replace them by the late 1920s.

Vintage Yosemite displays Taylor’s sensibility to Yosemite’s grand views.

We watch light move through giant sequoias, across rock faces, and along rivers, streams, lakes, and waterfalls. Together with visitors, wagons, and cabins of the era, we experience Yosemite as it was over one hundred years ago.

Vintage Yosemite reveals subtleties of transformation and rhythms of magnificence.

In 1878, HAROLD A. TAYLOR was born in Croydon, a growing town in south London. In 1896, he left England and settled in Bakersfield, California.
From 1902-1907, Taylor photographed Yosemite, operating out of his Studio of the Three Arrows in Yosemite Valley.
In 1912, Taylor moved to Coronado, where he lived, worked in photography, and established the Coronado Floral Association with his wife Maud. When he started retiring, Harold and Maud moved to El Cajon where they cultivated a half-acre Victorian flower garden on their dear little hill, “Lomita Querida.” He died in 1960 at the age of 81.
Taylor gave many of his glass plate negatives to his photographic business partner, William T. Elliott. William later gave the Yosemite and California Missions collections to his son Robert Elliott, who lived near Yosemite from 1971-2015. Robert has been working with his daughter Susan Entsminger and Pinyon Publishing to preserve and digitize these fragile glass plates and to share the beautiful images.
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