‘He’s a giant’: Ansel Adams Yosemite book gets nod from photographer Pete Souza

Morgan Hines, USA TODAY

Cathedral Peak and Lake, 1938

There probably isn’t a photographer out there that Ansel Adams hasn’t influenced.

At least that’s what Pete Souza, chief official White House photographer for President Barack Obama, thinks.

Souza, who wrote the foreword for Adams’ new book “Ansel Adams’ Yosemite: The Special Edition Prints,” out Tuesday, told USA TODAY a trip to Yosemite National Park led him to “make believe” he was Adams.

“Never in my imagination would I ever have imagined that someday I would be writing a foreword to an Ansel Adams book,” Souza says. “He’s a giant.”

The new book includes photographs arranged in a sequence selected by Adams before he died in 1984. The focus of the sequence is Yosemite National Park, where Adams spent a great deal of time….read more

Ansel Adams’ take on Yosemite National Park

Katia Hetter, CNN • Published 14th October 2019

(CNN) — To Matthew Adams, Ansel Adams was simply his grandpa.

Growing up in Fresno, California, Matthew would spend time with him during short summer vacations in Yosemite National Park, where his grandfather taught photography workshops.

“He was definitely a part of our lives, but I actually didn’t really grasp his national importance until after he had passed away” in 1984, said Adams, who was in high school at the time.

“He was Grandpa Ansel,” said Adams, 52. “I would have loved to have sat down over a beer with him (as an adult).”

Adams has become an expert on his renowned grandfather’s photography and conservation work, serving as president of The Ansel Adams Gallery.

His great-grandparents, Harry and Anne Best, first launched it as a summer gallery inside a tent. It has been located inside Yosemite National Park in one form or another since 1902…read more on CNN.com

How to photograph Yosemite like Ansel Adams

By Robert Annis – Lonely Planet Writer

I’m a good photographer, but obviously no Ansel Adams. Adams had a unique style – a way of photographing landscapes playing with light and shadow, creating iconic images both stark and beautiful – and on a recent trip to Yosemite National Park, I learned how to capture some of that magic myself.

Find just the right angle
Although Adams traveled the world, the place he’s most closely identified with is Yosemite – California’s most awe-inspiring location, made even more so by his photographs. The photographers who work at the nearby Ansel Adams Gallery have studied his techniques, and pass on that wisdom to thousands of amateur snapshot-takers and aspiring auteurs each year. Nearly every day, the gallery offers low-cost group clinics, teaching visitors to take better photographs…read more

Ansel Adams Defined the Modern Environmental Movement

Read Ansel’s 1968 speech to the DNC

As we celebrate Earth Day this year we are reminded of the diligence required to affect change. Today the environment continues to be attacked and the clock is being turned back on progress on many fronts. Ansel Adams spent decades in the battle to protect our environment. At his core, his activism was driven by his love of the environment and his humanity.

The tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention included a visit from Ansel. Ever the outspoken environmentalist, Ansel gave a presentation to the DNC Platform Committee. His remarks, reprinted here , were prescient and are unfortunately more apt today than 50 years ago.

The message he presented was a foretelling of the climate crisis we face today.

“The fearful problem before us now is HOW TO SAVE THIS PLANET AS A WORLD TO LIVE IN. Conservation is implicitly more important than war and peace, politics, racism, national and international problems and jealousies. If the basic portents of ecology, natural and human, are not heeded, man is surely doomed.“

1968 was also a year of cultural upheavals in the US. The VietNam war was raging as well as a dramatic anti-war movement which spilled onto the streets of Chicago that summer. It was also a time that the modern day environmental movement was growing. By the spring of 1970 the first Earth Day was celebrated and 20 million Americans took to the streets in coast to coast rallies.

Looking at Adams’ early commitment to environmental activism (starting in the 30s) we are reminded of the ongoing work required to preserve and protect our wilderness. Adams was an unremitting activist for the cause of wilderness and the environment. Over the years he attended innumerable meetings and wrote thousands of letters in support of his conservation philosophy to newspaper editors, Sierra Club and Wilderness Society colleagues, government bureaucrats, and politicians.

In revisiting his speech at the 1968 convention Adams concludes that the prime question should not be “What will conservation cost?” but “What will the ultimate cost be if the conservation of all resources is not fully considered?”

The Way We Take Photos Has Changed, But What Ansel Adams Brought To The Craft Hasn’t

By Robin Lubbock https://www.wbur.org/artery
Leaning close into Ansel Adams’ photograph “Canyon de Chelly National Monument,” created in 1942, I saw the fine dark outline of a tree, far away, down by the river. It was so clear, and so sharp, I felt like I could reach out my hand and gently lift it from the valley floor.

I’ve been making images professionally almost all of my adult life, and like so many of us today, I have a camera in my pocket at all times, and I document life as I go. Making pictures is easy these days. But it wasn’t always that way, and as I walked from print to print through the Museum of Fine Arts’ “Ansel Adams In Our Time” exhibition, I could feel the excitement of a very different era of photography pulling me along, my heart in my throat. It took me back to my days of black and white photography, pushing film into cameras, bathing it in developer, printing on glossy paper in the red light of a darkroom, and letting the soft illumination of an enlarger play through my fingers as I struggled to get the print I wanted….read more

Ansel Adams: The Early Years, at the Longmont Museum

The Longmont Museum’s latest exhibit Ansel Adams: Early Works launched Friday, Jan. 28, 2019 with an opening reception, complete with appetizers, a cash bar and live music on the Museum’s own Shigeru Kawai piano. Cocktail attire was requested, and many attendees complied, so it was a very happy evening, with a magnificent display of photographs to enjoy as well.

But what goes into putting together such an exhibition for us all to appreciate? Erik Mason, the museum’s History curator explained the process of this and the other major traveling collections that the museum presents.

The photographs in this exhibition were from the collection of New York residents Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg, who also have a similar collection of works by Edward Weston and other notable 20th century photographers. Such collectors of artwork are usually very happy to share and are eager to find the best way to do this…read more

Ansel Adams in a New Light

The National Parks are in partial shutdown. But America’s wilderness shines in a show at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston that reveals how human intervention has changed purple mountains’ majesty.


By Vicki Goldberg – The New York Times
January 17, 2019

BOSTON — Ah, wilderness! It’s our answer to Europe’s cathedrals, our proof of a unique national identity.

Most citizens were first introduced to the wilderness by images. In the early 19th century, Thomas Cole placed the eastern wilderness — his beloved Catskill Mountains — on walls. Later in the century, Carleton Watkins’s 1861 photographs of Yosemite contributed heavily to Lincoln’s decision in 1864 to secure the valley forever “for public use, resort and recreation,” the first time any government anywhere set aside land to benefit the public.

William Henry Jackson’s 1871 photographs of Yellowstone helped persuade Congress to establish the first national park in 1872. Then in the 1930s, Ansel Adams (1902-1984), a staunch conservationist who had grown up near the windswept dunes of Golden Gate Park, lobbied Congress and sent the government a book of his photographs of the southern Sierra Nevada range. They strongly influenced President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to make the Kings Canyon area a national park. Read more at The New York Times

An Astronomer Solves a 70-Year-Old Ansel Adams Mystery

Ansel Adams was a genius with a camera, but he wasn’t so great about taking notes. The famous 20th century landscape photographer did not keep careful records of the dates he took his photos, leading to some debate over the origin period of certain images, including Denali and Wonder Lake (below), taken in Denali National Park in Alaska sometime in the late 1940s.

To settle a debate about when the photograph (known as Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake until the mountain’s name was officially changed in 2015) was taken, Texas State University astronomer Donald Olson looked to the sky, using astronomical hints to determine the exact date, time, and location it was shot. Olson—who has solved other cultural mysteries related to topics such as Edvard Munch’s paintings and Chaucer’s writing using the night sky—writes about the process in his new book, Further Adventures of the Celestial Sleuth.

Adams did take some technical notes during his photography shoots, writing down the exposure time, film type, filters, and other settings used to capture the image, but he wasn’t as meticulous about the more mundane parts of the shoot, like the date. However, during his research, Olson found that another photo, Moon and Denali…read more

Stunning Ansel Adams print of Golden Gate before the bridge could fetch $250K at auction

An original Ansel Adams photograph showing a San Francisco scene that hasn’t existed in nearly 85 years is hitting the auction block for the first time.

“The Golden Gate Before the Bridge” will go up for sale at Bonhams in New York on Monday. It depicts a wild and natural Golden Gate without its celebrated landmark spanning the picturesque coastlines of the Marin Headlands and the Presidio.

“This is the last glimpse of the Headlands before the bridge was built,” says Laura Paterson, Head of Photographs at Bonhams New York. “For people who aren’t photo buffs, it’s a wonderful, pure recollection of a period of time in San Francisco’s history when it was still quite a small place and at the edge of the American frontier. It’s an important historical document as well as a really beautiful fine art photograph.” read more SF Gate

Ansel Adams worked to help less fortunate

Son recalls father’s support for Japanese-Americans in WWII; to give talk in Port Hadlock

Full article at http://www.ptleader.com/arts/ansel-adams-worked-to-help-less-fortunate/article_e1078706-a307-11e7-a62e-3fa1b8c695e0.html

When Japanese-Americans were forcibly relocated and interned at camps in the U.S. during World War II, it didn’t sit well with famed photographer Ansel Adams, according to Adams’ son, Michael.

Ansel Adams “did a very extensive photographic project with the Japanese-Americans who were forced to live in Manzanar Relocation Camp near Lone Pine, California,” Michael Adams said in an email interview with The Leader.

“He made several trips to the camp in 1943-44, and I went along on two of them. An exhibit and a book, entitled: ‘Born Free and Equal’ came of this project,” Michael Adams said.

“His feelings for these American Citizens incarcerated in these camps at that time, were very strong, and the ‘Born Free and Equal’ book revealed those sentiments.”

In a letter to the Library of Congress in 1965, Ansel Adams wrote, “The purpose of my work was to show how these people, suffering under a great injustice, and loss of property, businesses and professions, had overcome the sense of defeat and dispair [sic] by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent) environment…. All in all, I think this Manzanar Collection is an important historical document, and I trust it can be put to good use.”


Michael Adams talks about his father’s work during an exhibit, reception and dinner on Sept. 30 at the Old Alcohol Plant in Port Hadlock.

“I am very happy that my father’s photographs are on display. I will be giving a talk and will exhibit much more of his work in Yosemite, the Southwest, California and the National Parks,” Michael said.

Michael is also to talk about Ansel Adam’s life and legacy, including the photographer’s youth in San Francisco and his exposure to music. The talk is to be accompanied by a slideshow of some of Ansel Adams’ most beloved photographs.

“I remember coming to Port Hadlock in 1947 after returning from a trip to Alaska with my father,” Michael recalled.

“I remember the Old Alcohol Plant as a big, concrete structure with a lot of vegetation growing in and around. My father told me stories of the plant, and we looked for the home that he remembered when he visited in the 1910-15 era. I came back to Port Hadlock in 1962 on my honeymoon and showed my wife the plant … very similar to the earlier experience. We again came to Port Hadlock in the 1980s with our children and again showed them the abandoned concrete structure.”

Several of Ansel Adams’ photographs are on display at the plant.

“My favorite photograph is the ‘Moon and Half Dome’ image, which was first seen as our wedding announcement in 1962. Another is ‘Moonrise, Hernandez, 1941.’ I was with Ansel when that image was taken,” Michael said.

All proceeds from the fundraising dinner is to benefit Bayside Housing and Services, which is part of a unique partnership with the Old Alcohol Plant to provide safe, temporary, supportive housing so people in need can secure permanent housing.

The Old Alcohol Plant is located at 310 Hadlock Bay Road, Port Hadlock. Doors open at 4:30. A VIP reception is at 5:30, and the dinner and presentation begins at 6:30.

“I am pleased that Ansel’s work can be used to support the program of the Old Alcohol Plant. I am also happy that the housing program is successful and that the work supports that aspect.”


Michael Adams was born in the Yosemite Valley and educated at Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah, and Stanford University. He received a B.A. in geography from Fresno State College, and his M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, according to information from the Ansel Adams Gallery.

In addition to his private medical practice, Michael has also served as a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force (USAF) and the California Air National Guard in Japan and New Mexico, and as a flight surgeon/pilot physician in Germany and Fresno, California. He retired from the USAF and Air National Guard in 1993, as a major general and from duty as deputy surgeon general of the USAF for the Air National Guard.

Michael is chairman of the board of the Ansel Adams Gallery, now in its 114th year of operation in Yosemite Valley. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical School, and teaches in the UCSF Fresno residency training program. Michael has been an adviser to the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where the Ansel Adams photographic archive is located. He also is a council member of the Yosemite Conservancy.