"One Family, Four Generations, Ten Men, and a Ton of Film"…Life In Photos

New exhibition highlights work by news photographers in Watson family.

Written by: David Dean

The Museum of Texas Tech University (MoTTU) opens the exhibition “Watson Family Photographers: L.A. Stories,” June 7 in Gallery 1. The Museum is located at 3301 Fourth Street, where free parking is available in the north and west parking lots. Fifty framed news photographs, plus text panels, labels, vintage cameras and historical memorabilia make up this fascinating exhibition. The exhibition is circulated by Landau Traveling Exhibitions. In less than a century, Los Angeles grew from a coastal enclave to one of the world’s most influential cities. News photographers in the Watson family recorded it all—big disasters, everyday triumphs, world leaders, petty criminals, sports legends and infamous trials. Across four generations, a Watson photographer, or two, has been on hand at most of the significant events in Southern California, and on occasion throughout the world. Spanning the entire 20th century, the exhibition presents more than a historical chronology. It also illustrates how advances in photo-technology changed the texture of news photography. The Watson family’s tradition of technical innovations dating to the early 1910s in both motion picture and still photography are highlighted throughout the exhibition. The Watsons’ photographs have been published worldwide for close to a century in newspapers, magazines and books. Watson photographs are held in the permanent collections of The Getty Museum and The Hollywood Heritage Museum, and one of George Watson’s original 4X5 cameras is in the permanent collection of the Newseum in Washington, DC. Selections from the Family Archive also have been exhibited at Los Angeles County Museum of Science and Industry (1972), Los Angeles County Public Library, Getty Gallery (2003), and The Forrest Lawn Los Angeles Museum (2007). In 1999, the Watson Family received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame honoring their contributions to the film industry. For more information or phone interviews about the exhibition, contact Jeffrey Landau at 310.397.3098, or email jlandau@a-r-t.com. To request special assistance, contact the MoTTU Education Office at (806) 742-2432, or email to museum.education@ttu.edu.