Ansel Adams: Yosemite Valley

Exhibition Website

Dec 8 2016 - Apr 16 2017

Celebrating the National Park Service’s centennial year, this exhibition presents Portfolio III: Yosemite Valley, a series of 16 silver gelatin prints by American photographer Ansel Adams (1902­–1984). The works, dating from 1927 to 1960, depict the majestic beauty of Yosemite National Park, California, in Adams’s signature black-and-white style.

Born in San Francisco, Adams became known for his striking landscape photographs of the American West. In 1916, he visited Yosemite National Park with his family, and was given his first camera by his father. Photography and Yosemite would remain subjects of fascination for the remainder of Adams’s life.

In 1960, Portfolio III: Yosemite Valley was published by the Sierra Club, a renowned conservation organization of which Adams was a member for over 30 years. The artist served a vital role at the Club, assisting in effectively persuading the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service to declare numerous wilderness lands as National Parks, acting as the Club’s official trip photographer, and receiving numerous environmental awareness awards.

The prints presented in this exhibition highlight Adams’s interest in the aesthetic and scientific aspects of nature in their most grand and minute detail. These images had profound success in awakening many Americans to the purity of the nation’s natural regions and the importance of preserving them.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.

Whether you go or not, Ansel Adams in Yosemite Valley: Celebrating the Park at 150  includes roughly 150 breathtaking images, exquisitely reproduced in this large-format clothbound book. There are notable portraits of El Captain, Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks, Royal Arches, and other distinctive rock formations that frame the valley; grand views in all seasons and all states of weather; intimate details of nature from the Valley floor; the waterfalls--Bridaveil, Yosemite, Vernal, Nevada; studies of trees, from the giants of the Mariposa Grove to the exquisite white blossoms of the dogwood. There are gathering and clearing storms, snow and ice, bright sunshine, and the subtle shades of dawn and dusk. Ansel Adams first visited Yosemite in 1916, at the age of fourteen, and returned every year throughout his life. It was in Yosemite that he fell in love with Western wilderness and became a photographer; he made more photographs at Yosemite than at any other place.

The photographs have been selected and sequenced by Peter Galassi, former Chief Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. His abundantly illustrated introduction sets Adams's pictures within the rich history of imagery of Yosemite.

  • Photography
  • American
  • 20th Century
  • Animals / Wildlife / Nature
  • Ansel Adams

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