L.A. Stories
100+ Years of Watson Family Photography

When James Watson arrived in Los Angeles in 1900, this Captain in the Salvation Army from England founded what would become a family enterprise of press photographers working in a profession still being defined.  An amateur photographer, Watson started with a primitive Kodak camera that he learned to use by referencing an antiquated government manual issued during the Civil War.  James instilled his passion for the medium in three sons, six grandsons and a great grandson, who is still active in the field.  

The story of the Watson family is intimately connected to the birth of the motion picture industry, the evolution of photojournalism and the shaping of modern Los Angeles. Soon after settling in Los Angeles, the family became involved in the nascent film industry and later in the dynamic press business thriving on the newly invented ways of syndication to transmit news with photographs to large, literate audiences. 

-- from the exhibition essay by Ljiljana Grubisic, PhD


Between the Wars

Post War Years

Sample Images from the museum exhibition and book curated by Ljiljana Grubisic, PhD and Francis Coiro. The Exhibition is circulated by Landau Traveling Exhibitions.