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Nineteenth Century Evidence, Survey, and Science Photography

In 1875, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company engaged Muybridge to promote Central America as a destination for tourists and investors. He photographed the dramatic volcanic highlands of Guatemala, as well as the Spanish Colonial architecture there and in Panama. He also captured Guatemala’s emerging coffee industry, which was rapidly transforming the social and natural landscape as the region began to shift toward an economy based on modern commerce. Upon his return to California in 1876, Muybridge assembled an album titled The Pacific Coast of Central America and Mexico; The Isthmus of Panama; Guatemala; and the Cultivation and Shipment of Coffee, from which these photographs are taken.