Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Seven members of the Watson family. From left: George Watson and nephews Coy Watson Jr., Harry Watson, Billy Watson, Delmar Watson, Garry Watson and Bobs Watson.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ©Watson Family Archive / www.Fathom.Gallery

President Woodrow Wilson arrives in Los Angeles in 1919. Wilson turns to look at the George Watson, who was loudly meowing like a cat to catch the president's attention. Photo by George Watson with View camera, 5X7 Kodak Dry Plate glass negative, natural light.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ©Watson Family Archive / www.Fathom.Gallery

Scientist Carl Sagan briefs the press at Jet Propulsion Laboratories in 1980 as Voyager 1 passes Saturn on its way to exiting the solar system. Photo by Daniel Watson using Nikon F2 Camera, 180mm f/2.8 Nikkor Lens, Kodak Tri-X 35mm film pushed to 800 ASA, ambient light.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ©Watson Family Archive / www.Fathom.Gallery

At the end of the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, the Acme News Service hams it up for the camera. The famous photographer Weegee, who was just a runner for the Acme News Service at the time, plays Taps. In the foreground George Watson mugs for the camera with the rest of his staff. Photo taken by Coy Watson Jr., with Speed Graphic Camera, 4X5 sheet film, #5 flash bulb.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ©Watson Family Archive / www.Fathom.Gallery

Returning servicemen start the Pasadena Hot Rod Club and a nationwide craze. 1947 photo by Delmar Watson using Speed Graphic Camera, 4X5 sheet film, natural light.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ©Watson Family Archive / www.Fathom.Gallery

Col. and Mrs. Charles A. Lindbergh stand on the runway in heated suits just prior take-off on their 1930 record-setting transcontinental flight. Anne was carrying their first child, who was kidnapped and killed in 1932. Photo by George Watson using Graphlex Camera, 4X5 sheet film, flash powder. This photo was published in the April 21, 1930 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ©Watson Family Archive /

Film director William H. Watson is photographed by his brother with Jackie the original "Leo the Lion" the famous MGM trademark. 1928 photo by George Watson using Graphlex Camera, 4X5 sheet film, natural light.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ©Watson Family Archive / www.Fathom.Gallery

Tina Turner performs at the Greek Theater on Sept. 28, 1971, in Los Angeles. Photo taken by Delmar Watson with Nikon F Camera, 105mm f/2.5 Nikkor Lens, Kodak Tri-X 35mm film pushed to 1000 ASA, ambient light.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ©Watson Family Archive / www.Fathom.Gallery

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LA Stories: 100 Years of Watson Family Press Photography

Salvation Army minister and photo hobbyist James Watson migrated to Los Angeles in 1900. Two sons, six grandsons and one great-grandson continued in photography. All 10 Watson photographers are represented in the new gallery show “LA Stories: 100 Years of Watson Family Press Photography.”

Aug. 14, 2014: Photos from the Watson Family Archive on display at FATHOM Gallery in Santa Monica. “LA Stories: 100 years of Watson Family Press Photography” opens on Saturday Aug. 16, 2014, and runs through Sep. 20, 2014. Credit: Scott Harrison/Los Angeles Times.

A selection of the Watson family images goes on display Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, at the FATHOM Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. Some of the displayed images are in the above photo gallery.

The exhibition is co-curated by Francis Coiro and Ljiljana Grubisic, PhD.  Coiro, a friend of Delmar Watson, has been helping the Watson Photographic Archive since Delmar’s death in 2008.

“There have been multiple Watson museum retrospectives,” Coiro points out, “but this is the first time the public will have a chance to purchase these historic photographs.”

The FATHOM press release adds:

The L.A. Stories exhibition displays the rise and fall of press photography, from the early years to the zenith, when newspapers had the power to start or stop a war, through today’s world with the shift to diverse Web-based information. Viewing the exhibition, which is displayed chronologically,  one can see the effects of technology on press coverage — how new cameras and lighting changed the texture of the pictures and even how events were photographed.

The exhibition includes photos as diverse as President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the campaign trail inside the Los Angeles Coliseum; Tina Turner at the Greek Theatre; the construction of the happiest place on Earth, Disneyland; Col. Charles Lindbergh and his pregnant wife, Anne, posing in front of the plane they would use to cross the U.S. and set a speed record; Quincy Jones and Carol Channing having a laugh at a Los Angeles charity event.

”The Watson photographers motto has always been ‘Pictures that tell a story,’ ” said Daniel Watson. “Growing up, I was surrounded by endless stories about the great L.A. newspapers from my dad, uncles and my great- uncle. And now, when I look at all of these Watson photographs hanging in the exhibition, I don’t just see the story of a city, I can actually teleport myself into their skin as they made these pictures.”

The FATHOM Gallery is located at 2525 Michigan Ave., Building D-4, Santa Monica. The opening reception is Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, from 6 p.m. till 9 p.m. The gallery shares space with the Andrew Weiss Gallery. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. More information is at the FATHOM website.

Daniel Watson will present a couple of lectures during the show. Details are still being finalized.

For more on the Watsons, check out my 2010 From the Archives blog post: Watson Family Photographic Archive.

For more on Delmar Watson, the Los Angeles Times 2008 obituary Delmar Watson: Child Actor turned photographer is online.

Also, check out The Watson Family on the Los Angeles Times Hollywood Star Walk. The family has 1000 movies to their credit.

Follow Scott Harrison on Twitter and Google+

Thumbnail view of all From the Archive posts.

1 Comment

  1. August 19, 2014, 4:01 pm

    Gosh ! What a family – – And great pictures, Too. I knew them all very well !
    And what a happy, fun, God loving family they were ! And, you know what ?
    – – – Their mother used to sleep with my father. and what fantastic, LOVING
    parents they were! ! There are only three of the children left , Louise, Garry.
    and Billy ! ( And they miss the family very much)
    "Thanks for the write-up, Guys" Brother Billy Watson
    (One of the Three left)

    By: watson_5@yahoo.co0m

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