The real Ansel Adams

Alan Ross, who knew the genius and wicked humor of the famed photographer and environmentalist, exhibits work at Laguna gallery.

Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham

Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham by Alan Ross

One of Ansel Adams‘ pet peeves was when Alan Ross would forget to turn off a battery-powered digital thermometer in the dark room.

He communicated his displeasure about the batteries wearing out by leaving notes that read, “You left the thermometer on all night (sniff!!)” and “Naughty boy!!!!!! You didn’t turn the [expletive] thermometer off!!!!” Since Ross wasn’t accustomed to using a thermometer that needed turning off, he forgot — a lot.

When Ross followed through, though, Adams scribbled, “Dear Alan, I am peeved!! Disappointed, discouraged!!!! You did NOT forget to turn off the thermometer and I have nothing to gripe about! What is life without a gripe? Desolate, flat, etc. …”

These missives, exhibited at the Forest and Ocean Gallery along with candid shots of Adams dressed as Moses and another in which he is clowning around with a dark cloth, showcase the photographer and environmentalist’s gregarious nature. Titled “Alan Ross: The Ansel Adams Legacy,” the show features 11 black-and-white landscape images from the 26-piece collection “Yosemite Special Edition.” The pieces cost $300 when unframed and $395 with frames. read more

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