Ansel Adams (1902 1984) was a photographic pioneer who brought the American wilderness into the homes of millions with his spectacular images of rugged and romantic landscapes. Despite being the most popular and arguably the most influential photographer in American history, Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains to the Sea at the National Maritime Museum
is a rare opportunity to see his work exhibited on a large scale in the UK. Of the over one hundred original prints featured, many have never before been on display in the UK. The exhibition comes to the National Maritime Museum from the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts.
Best known for his monumental photographs of mountains and parklands Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains to the Sea is the first exhibition to focus on Adamss lifelong fascination with water in all its forms. This major new display brings together the finest examples of Adamss images of this elemental subject, combining some of the most famous photographs of the twentieth century with stunning, lesser-known examples, and providing a new context for enjoying this important artist and his legacy.
Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains to the Sea includes images of crashing waterfalls, dramatic rapids and geysers, placid ponds, raging rivers, and beautiful icescapes. Visitors will have the chance to appreciate the extraordinary detail of the tiniest prints, and to see Adamss largest known works - a series of three murals produced for the American Trust bank.
Fluid, ephemeral, and unpredictable, Adams returned to water throughout his career. Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains to the Sea traces his development from a young boy taking holiday snaps to one of the most accomplished image makers of modern times. The exhibition explores Adamss interest in water as he progressed from an earlier Pictorialist style, towards a distinctly Modernist approach, demonstrated through his use of techniques such as sharp focus, seriality, and sequence.
Exhibition highlights include: the very first photograph Adams ever made, at the age of 14, featuring a watery pool at the Panama Pacific Exhibition of the 1915 World's Fair; the three American Trust murals, produced in the 1950s on an unprecedented scale and testament to Adamss technical innovation; Adamss favourite work, Golden Gate before the Bridge which hung above his desk; and some of Adamss most iconic images including Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite and Stream, Sea, Clouds, Rodeo Lagoon, Marin County, California.
Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains to the Sea features photographs drawn predominantly from the Ansel Adams Archive and supplemented with important works from other prominent private and institutional public collections in the USA. Support for the exhibition was provided by David H. Arrington and the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.