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Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984)

Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park, 1942

gelatin silver print

Beyond his iconic black and white images of Yosemite and the Sierras and his authoritative contributions to the craft and techniques of fine-art photography, Adams was gifted with qualities of leadership that resonated with Americans. From his first solo exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in 1931, through the co-founding of Group f64 and Aperture Magazine in 1952, to the first official presidential portrait by a photographer (Jimmy Carter), Adams stood out from his peers. His 1974 retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City marks perhaps the final and decisive event signaling the acceptance of photography into the greater art world. The show was also a major stimulus to the cause of environmentalism in the U.S.