3 Jun 2007

Ansel Adams – Celebration of Genius

Posted by khk

I just returned from the “Ansel Adams – Celebration of Genius” exhibition at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY. They have 150 photographs of Adams on display – some of them master pieces that are well known, others not as well known, but still show the genius that Adams was.

One of the more interesting pieces is “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico”, which is shown as a print in beautiful light (I guess the Eastman House knows how to light photographs), but then they also show a contact print of the original 8×10 negative. This is where Adams’ genius really shows. The negative has a low contrast, and does not give any hints to the greatness that a master printer can pull out of it. Just amazing….

When I entered the exhibition hall, and started to look at some of his Rochester pictures, there was this background noise – some guy talking. After a few moments I noticed that it was actually Adams talking: They are showing a 23 minute movie with interviews, but it’s mostly him talking. There was a pretty funny moment in this movie, when Adams is talking to Georgia O’Keefe, and O’Keefe complained to him that she never had any good photos by him, just a few not-so-good ones. Hilarious.

After looking at 150 pictures, it’s hard to identify a favorite, besides the ones that stick out because I’ve seen them so often, “Mudhills, Arizona” is one that I spent quite some time looking at.

What surprised me a bit was that there were none of his color images, but they had a Datsun poster and a coffee can with an Adams photo on it.

If you get the chance to see this exhibition, take a couple of hours and enjoy some great photographs. remember, originals look so much better than reproductions in books. I’ll definitely be back for more.

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One Response to “Ansel Adams – Celebration of Genius”

  1. […] admission, or – even better – become a member and get in for free. You have until September 3rd. I’ve seen it three times so far, and I will definitely go […]


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