Ansel Adams Collection Donated to Huntington Library

The Huntington Library is celebrating one of its newest additions – a complete collection of work from famed photographer Ansel Adams.

Adams was best known for his images of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, but his decades of work captured much more than that. From 1948 to 1976, Adams created seven limited edition portfolios all containing a dozen or more photos.

Barbara Barrett-Byrne said her late husband George collected all seven of those portfolios. He was a student of the legendary photographer and a member of the Sierra Club.

Sunshine & Shadows: The World of Ansel Adams

Click to view Video

KRON-TV special report from 1968, narrated by Ed Hart, about the life and work of Californian photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams (1902-84). Includes scenes of Adams hiking, taking photographs and teaching a workshop in Yosemite National Park. Also features views of him working in his home studio in Carmel, California and interviews regarding his professional philosophy and commitment to the environmental movement. This film was written and produced by Al Berglund and directed by Merle Ellis. view at

The Ansel Adams Gallery Rehabilitation Recently Completed at Yosemite National Park

Gallery Fully Reopened to Public

April 6, 2015 – The first part of a multi-phase rehabilitation project of The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park has recently been completed. The first phase of the project, which began in October 2014, was completed on Saturday, April 4, 2015. The newly rehabilitated gallery is fully open and operational in their historic location.

Photo by Joseph Hornof

Work completed on The Ansel Adams Gallery included structural rehabilitation, safety improvements, enhanced site circulation, electrical wiring upgrades, and drainage improvements. Additionally, the project included designing the entire gallery to be fully accessible and ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) compliant. All building improvements and upgrades were completed while retaining as many materials and features that characterize the historic nature of this property. The overall project will cost approximately $2.5 million and is funded through franchise fees received from concession operations.

The last phase of the project, slated to be completed in early summer, will include rehabilitation of The Ansel Adams Gallery residential housing, ADA access to the onsite photographic education classroom, and additional site work, including landscaping and pathway reconstruction.

Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984) was a visionary nature photographer most famous for his black and white photographs of Yosemite National Park. The Ansel Adams Gallery, originally Best’s Studio, has been operating in Yosemite since 1902, and sells books, handcrafts, fine arts, and collections of Ansel Adams photographs.

Picture-perfect life: Daughter of Ansel Adams

SALINAS >> If a little girl grows up among towering rock formations, majestic waterfalls, ancient trees, and exotic little creatures, her story usually begins with “Once upon a time…”

Anne Adams Helms frolicked as a child in Yosemite National Park, where her mother ran a small artist’s studio that doubled as the family home. Her father was a photographer and an environmental activist who became a lifetime member and a director of the Sierra Club.

Anne Adams Helms, the daughter of photographer Ansel Adams, and her husband Ken Helms stand in front of her father’s photo titled the Tetons and the Snake River at her home in rural Salinas on Wednesday. David Royal – Monterey Herald

Her parents met, fell in love, and were married after a six-week courtship at the foot of a 617-foot waterfall known as Bridalveil.

“It was such a romantic story that it got written up in the Chicago Tribune,” remembers Anne, now 80, who lives today with her 79-year-old husband, Ken Helms, in a former bed-and-breakfast with a spectacular view of the emerald hillside that rolls away from Laureles Grade.

The walls of their home are decorated with stunning original photos that were taken by her father, Ansel Adams, one of the most celebrated photographers who ever lived.

“Sometimes we called him Pops or whatever, but usually my brother (Michael) and I just called him Ansel,” she says. “It wasn’t meant to be disrespectful — not at all. We loved him, but he really wasn’t a daddy-ish kind of person. There weren’t any family vacations to Disneyland or anything like that.” … read more

Ansel Adams’ Granddaughter to Speak at ‘Ding’ Darling

monolakeAnsel Adams’ Granddaughter to Speak at ‘Ding’ Darling

February 28, 2015 / by STACEY HENSON,

Adams rose to prominence as a photographer of the American West, particularly of California’s Yosemite National Park. As an environmental activist, he used his work to promote conservation of wilderness areas. One of his earliest books “Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada” contained text written by Sierra Club founder John Muir.

Adam’s iconic black-and-white images helped to elevate photography to a fine art, with his photos of Glacier National Park, Old Faithful Geyser and the High Sierra.

In 1984, the year he died, the U.S. Geologlical Society sanctioned the Ansel Adams Wilderness area, covering 100,000 acres between Yosemite National Park and the John Muir Wilderness Area. read more at

San Diego Museum Unveils ‘Fragile Waters’ Exhibit

Interviews and previews – read more about this exhibit

FRAGILE WATERS is a powerful artistic and ecological statement through the inspiring black and white images of three renowned photographers and environmentalists – Ansel Adams, Ernest H. Brooks II, and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly. The traveling exhibition of 119 photographs, many not previously exhibited, takes viewers from the snow-melt of the High Sierras at 12,000 feet elevation to far below the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. All three artists have spent their lives near an ocean; all three have used their strong “integrity of place” to protect the sanctity of the environment through the universal language of black and white photography. Designed to engage the viewer in a respectful and emotional connection to our most precious resource, FRAGILE WATERS suggests our ability to change the course of the future.

FRAGILE WATERS calls attention to water, the critical resource, in all its beauty and power, inviting the viewer to engage with interpretations of three dynamic and dedicated photographers. From Ansel Adam’s first magical trip to Yosemite at 14, Ernest H. Brooks II’s first scuba dive at 13, and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly’s infatuation with the salt marshes at 18, these photographers each have lived their conviction, passion and commitment, and now share it through FRAGILE WATERS. Brooks and Monnelly have each been referred to as the “Ansel Adams” of their genres. Environmental degradation raises growing concerns. Restoration and preservation of the Earth’s aquatic ecosystems – her Fragile Waters – is far more compelling through the empathetic lens of each of these environmental stewards.

Water is more than a resource; it is essential to all life we know. In a time of blatant disregard for the sanctity of the environment, this exhibition focuses on the beauty of pure free-flowing water, of reflections and light, of water forms such as rain clouds, ice and icebergs, and of life in water, providing us access to a world we may never otherwise know. Brooks, Monnelly and Adams, all are devoted to nature, and that energy flows through their images. Integrating the work of these three artists into a cohesive exhibit multiplies its impact many times over.

Ansel Adams
Tetons & Snake River, 1942
Grand Teton National, WY
® Courtesy Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Dorothy Kerper Monnelly
Witch Island, Daybreak,
2002 Ipswich, MA
® Dorothy Kerper Monnelly

Ernest H. Brooks II
Magnificent Blue, 1981
Anacapa Passage, CA
® Ernest H. Brooks II

Jeanne Falk Adams/Curator
organized by

Ansel Adams’ Son to Open Photo Exhibit’s West Coast Premiere

The son of Ansel Adams, whose photos helped expand the national park system, will attend the opening festivities of the West Coast premiere of “Fragile Waters.”

The traveling display of 119 photographs, many not previously exhibited, will be at the Maritime Museum of San Diego and feature black and white images by environmentalists Adams, Ernest H. Brooks II and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly.

Book review: ‘Ansel Adams in Yosemite Valley: Celebrating the Park at 150’

From age 14, photographer and conservationist Ansel Adams (1902–1984) visited Yosemite Valley annually.

Adams once said: “Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.”

Market Snapshot: Ansel Adams

Landscape photographer and environmental activist Ansel Adams’s lucid black and white photographs of the American wilderness helped establish photography as a legitimate art form. A half-century later, there is still an unimpeachable interest in his work at virtually any price point.

“Ansel’s work seems to be sort of a ‘gold standard’ in the photography market,” the artist’s grandson Matthew Adams, president of the Ansel Adams Gallery, told artnet via email. “His work has appreciated, and does fluctuate with the market in general, but doesn’t see the extreme highs and lows that we sometimes see with other photographers’ work.”

Ansel Adams Vintage Photographs

Banner Peak, Thousand Island Lake

Banner Peak, Thousand Island Lake. A vintage photograph by Ansel Adams. Negative date – 1923, Print date – 1927

“Vintage” is a term in photography that has both a very specific meaning, and unfortunately a slightly ambiguous definition when putting it into practice.  A “vintage” print is a print that is made around the time the negative was made, which is pretty clear. The question becomes, if a negative was made in 1927, would you still consider a print to be made in 1929 a “vintage” print? What about 1930? 1932? If you say one year date, why that year and not the next, or the previous? Why does it matter? With Ansel’s work, not only is the basic question confounding, but Ansel himself was notorious for not remembering the dates of negatives, and generally didn’t date the print until the late 1970s. As always, there are nuances.

Roaring River Falls , King’s River Canyon. A vintage photograph by Ansel Adams. Negative date – 1925, Print date – 1927

Ansel’s first foray into fine art photography, the Parmelian Print portfolio, was made in 1927 and included images from as early as 1921 (Grove of Tamarack Pines [sic]) and 1923 (Banner Peak, Thousand Island Lake). These would be considered “vintage” by most collectors and critics, but is it representative of the term? The negative of Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, was made in 1927; would a print made in 1932 still be considered “vintage”? For these early images, Ansel made a transition to smooth gelatin silver photographic paper around 1931-32, which to us is the cutoff material for considering early negatives as “vintage”. It isn’t scientific, but we think reasonable given how information on those prints is either very definitive (1927 Parmelian Print portfolio, 1930 Sierra Club Outing) or not at all (Monolith on parchment paper, no letterpress title). After 1930, things get a lot trickier. Photographs printed in the 1930s tend to be dated more often based on the mount board material and the label or stamp on the reverse. With these, if the negative date is 1935 or later, and the mount reflects a 30s era, it is safe to assume it can be designated “vintage”. With negatives dated between 1930 and 1935, fiber based silver gelatin prints on the 1930s mount boards, there is less certainty. Early for sure, but it brings us back to the question of how close to the negative date qualifies as “vintage”.

Icicles, Ahwahnee Hotel a vintage photograph by Ansel Adams. Negative date – 1935, Print date – late 1930s

The late 30s and 40s were a very productive period for Ansel: Clearing Winter Storm (1938); Moonrise, Hernandez (1941); and the Manzanar “Born Free and Equal” project (1944) among others. Ansel was very engaged in big projects during the 1940s, the Mural Project before America entered the war, the Manzanar Project in 1943-4, helping to found the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, teaching in Yosemite, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and two Guggenheim Fellowships at the end of the decade. Prints from this period are rare, and hard to identify with absolute certainty. In the absence of purchase documentation, we have to go by labels for date periods; the best research on this matter is by Haas & Senf, Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Juniper, a vintage photograph by Ansel Adams. Negative date – 1930, Print date – 1930.

While Ansel was still quite active after 1950, he did not go into the field nearly as much as he had previously, and there are simply fewer photographs made later, and thus fewer potential “vintage” prints. The well-known images from late in Ansel’s career, Aspens, Northern New Mexico and Moon and Half Dome have a few image idiosyncrasies that help identify the prints as vintage. Without those factors, we have to rely more on the mount boards and stamps to estimate the print dates. With no industry standard, we say a “vintage” photograph is within approximately five years of the negative. So why does it matter? In general, “the market” places a higher value on vintage photographs. There are fewer in number, due to both less demand at that time and the mishaps of the years.

At Timberline, a vintage photograph by Ansel Adams. Negative date – 1930, Print date – 1930s

Collectors and art historians believe that vintage prints are more true to the original visualization, perhaps “more” original? Ansel personally didn’t buy into the argument that earlier was better, he thought that as he got to know a negative, he could get more out of it. In some cases, the tones are more appealing for a particular image, either from the original paper or the patina of age. As in all cases, each collector needs to reflect on his or her preferences, and make individual relative value judgments.

Bishop Pass, the Inconsolable Range, a vintage photograph by Ansel Adams. Negative date – 1930, Print date – 1930.