Photo exhibit at TTU museum showcases work by Adams

by: MAKENZIE MEANS/Staff Writer 

The legendary photographs of Ansel Adams are on display at the Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

Adams (1902-1984) was an American photographer and environmentalist. The exhibit began in August and will run until Jan. 17, 2016.

The exhibit features 103 pieces of work from a private collection of David H. Arrington of Midland. Arrington’s private collection is one of the largest in the world. His reason for lending his collection to the TTU Museum is to give back to his alma mater.

Adams is well known for his black-and-white photographs of American landscape. Adams mainly photographed the western part of the country. Some of his most famous pieces of work come from Yosemite National Park.

Many of the pieces of work on display are extraordinary images of nature. There are several images of the Sierra Mountains, as Adams was a member of the Sierra Club which took month-long hikes during the summer. In addition to the images of nature, there are images of Spanish and Indian villages. Adams also captured images from areas in New Mexico. He creatively captured the culture in the images from these places. These images not only show a realistic view of life in these places, but it also tells a story.

Behind the masterpieces of Adams’ photographs is his technique for taking the images.

Texas Tech photography student Jherica Rhodes said, “Adams is extremely admired because of the techniques he used. There are several that he was known to use… pictorialism and previsualization techniques…”

In his earlier work, Adams used a soft-focused landscape called “pictorialism.” Later on, he began using a technique called “previsualization.” With this technique, Adams would calculate the effects of a photograph before he even took the picture.

Ansel Adams Ex3
Ansel Adams display at the Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock on Nov. 14. SARA MARSHALL/PLAINSMAN PRESS

The Face of Half Dome was the one of the first photographs that Adams used the previsualization technique,” said Rhodes. “Many consider this a pivotal point in Adams’ career.”

In the early-to-mid-20th century, photographers did not have easily portable camera equipment. Adams did not have a small camera bag that he could just throw over his shoulder or a small camera or phone he could take out of his pocket. Adams had to hike up mountains or across rivers with heavy equipment. His equipment alone is estimated to have been around 30 pounds. On his first journey, he took along a mule that carried about 100 pounds worth of equipment and food. When considering this, it makes Adams’ work that much more incredible.

Many of Adams’ photographs have been converted and sold as posters that hang in the houses of people all across the country. To this day, Adams’ work sets high expectations for not only American landscape photography, but for photography, in general.

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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