News Release — June 6, 2005
Ansel Adams Legacy Prints Exhibited at Ransom Center
The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin presents "Ansel Adams: A Legacy," an exhibition of photographs that Adams intended to demonstrate and commemorate his life's achievement in photography. The exhibition runs from Aug. 9 to Jan. 1, 2006.
The exhibition of 126 photographs, printed by Adams toward the end of his career, is the largest known collection created by Adams himself. The images are not just a series of landscapes, but a panorama of the unmanipulated style to which Adams adhered.
The photographs span Adams' career and represent the multidimensional nature of his artistic vision. Among the images are dramatic vistas of Yosemite Valley and the Southwest, portraits of Georgia O'Keeffe and others, intimate close-ups of nature and architectural views.
The works are owned by Austin residents Lynn and Tom Meredith who acquired the Ansel Adams Legacy photographs in 2002. The Merediths, along with John McHale and Christine Mattsson, Bill and Bettye Nowlin, and Mort and Bobbi Topfer, have helped make this exhibition possible.
Adams (1902-1984) was a master of creating visually unforgettable images of unspoiled nature in spectacular places. He was also lauded for his mastery of the technical challenges of black-and-white printing.
Adams, who in his youth studied to be a concert pianist, believed that printing a negative was like the dynamic of an orchestra playing a symphony. The score is always the same but the interpretation of it changes with each performance.
Adams was, however, more interested in the expressive power of a photograph than in its technical perfection.
"You don't make a photograph just with a camera," Adams said. "You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved."
Adams' printing style changed over time, culminating in these images, made late in his career when he applied stronger contrast and tones in developing his prints.
All the photographs in the exhibition are originally from the collection of The Friends of Photography, one of the several organizations Adams helped create to promote the acceptance of photography as an art. Adams donated most of the works to The Friends of Photography.
The "Ansel Adams: A Legacy" collection has been exhibited elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad between 1997 and 2001. The appearance of the Meredith's collection at the Ransom Center will be an exclusive showing for the state of Texas.