Ansel Adams: The Man Who Captured the Earth's Beauty

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Moon and Half Done, Yosemite National Park, California. Negative date: 1960. Print date: 1980. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Peter G. Scotese. Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC.
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Sand Bar, Rio Grande, Big Bend National Park, Texas. Negative date: 1947. Print date: 1980. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Peter G. Scotese. Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC.

Ansel Adams (1902–1984) was born in San Francisco and took his first photograph with a Kodak #1 Box Brownie camera in Yosemite Valley when he was fourteen. Although trained as a concert pianist from 1914 through 1927, he also studied photography with the photo-finisher Frank Dittman. By 1930, photography became his career choice and the American western landscape his focus. In 1932, he was a key figure in the founding of Group f/64 with Edward Weston, Imogene Cunningham, and others to promote what they called “pure” photography; the department of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York in 1940; the department of photography at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California in 1946; and The Friends of Photography in Carmel, California in 1967. His skill as a writer and teacher had a tremendous impact on the history of creative photography. From 1955 until 1984, he conducted annual photography workshops, first in Yosemite National Park and later closer to his home in the Carmel Highlands. He was recognized as an ardent and effective conservationist and served as a member of the Sierra Club board of directors from 1934 to 1971. During his lifetime he received numerous awards, but his most treasured was the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Carter in 1980 for his conservation work.

THis exhibition is on tour through Smith Kramer Fine Art Services. These photographs are part of a Museum Set Edition, published by the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust in 1980 and 1981 from vintage negatives. The Mint Museum ’s collection of Ansel Adams’ photographs was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Peter G. Scotese, whose primary interest was to give the public access to Adams ’ works. Thanks to his technical virtuosity and sensitive eye, these dramatic images remain profound reminders of Ansel Adams’ reverence for the beauty of the earth and the healing force of nature in our lives.