View Full Version : Ansel Adams, Santa Barbara California to June 24, 2007
The 4/19/2007 issue of the Ventura County Star www.VenturaCountyStar.com has an excellent two page article on "Ansel Adams over Time" at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, a lucky 13 print show. The article is also a quick oversight of Ansel's work. All the pics were made before the time of multi-coating and lens testing, with lenses that in modern terms would be hard pressed to pass modern lens testing standards. Of course that was before our consumerism educated photographers that it is impossible to take great pics unless that lens also has a great lens test to match.
His biographer William Turnage is quoted "His "energy and capacity for work were simply colossal. He often labored for eighteen more hours per day, for days and weeks on end. There were no vacations, no holidays, no Sundays in Ansel Adams' life."
Alas, my own Ansel print collecting experience was short lived. I was sure that 4x5 signed contact print was overpriced at $75 ..... Haven't seen the exhibition yet, but I will.
So, I don't understand, is there a show in SB right now or is it just an article on display? I would love to see his work in person, but an article?
The show is on now till June 24. The excellent article about the show, and Ansel's work in general, is in today's Ventura Star.
I went to the show Sunday, April 22. It's in one small room. The show attempts to show how his work changed over time. I don't think that, for the average viewer, the explanation was sufficient. There was one very interesting huge mural photo he did in the 1950's on behalf of a division of Wells Fargo Bank. The description explained that it wasn't until later life that he made enough actual money from his fine art photography to release him from his reliance on commercial commissions. There was also an interesting quote, which I can't remember, as to why he made bolder prints as he got older. This was my first visit to the museum and, while Ansel Adams was just a small part of it, the museum in general is very nice too.
Commercial commissions aren't something that we commonly associate with Adams, but he had to make a living. Of course, he lived in Carmel and drove Cadillacs, so he wasn't exactly on food stamps.
As for the lack of multi-coating and lens testing, have a look at the test done of the 1950 Zeiss Biotar in Herb Keppler's May PP article. There's a comparison with a 2006 Nikon lens, and the two test results are nearly twins. Since Adams worked mostly with 8x10 cameras, he had ways of dealing with distortion, etc. And it could be that, at least back in his earlier days, people weren't even aware of such things, especially lens testing. Would Adams have taken better pictures if his lenses had been multi-coated?
For those in the South Eastern Michigan area (any?) or those that may be visiting, there is a rather extensive Ansel Adams exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts that is currently running until May 27th.
DIA Ansel Adams Exhibit (http://www.dia.org/exhibitions/AnselAdams/)
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