Photographer Ansel Adams died in 1984 but is once again in the headlines. Experts 'confirmed' recently that a set of glass negatives purchased by a bargain hunter at a secondhand sale in 2000 are, indeed, from Adams′ portfolio. The buyer paid £28 and the team of experts claimed the 65 negatives of Adams′ early work, which were believed to have been destroyed in a fire, are worth about £1,280,000.
The estimate shows the massive impact of Adams′ work in photography and environmentalism. His photographs appear on countless posters, postcards, books, calendars and have given millions of people an insight into places of natural wonder like Yosemite, New Mexico, Yellowstone and Death Valley.
His photography still reinforces the beauty of America′s western national parks and the importance of preservation. In 1980, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America′s highest civilian honour, for his work.
Desirable Ansel Adams′ books include Taos Pueblo, a remarkable insight into New Mexico, from 1930 and the limited edition Sierra Nevada from 1938. For Sierra Nevada, Adams was commissioned to produce the book by a man called Walter Starr as a memorial to his son who was killed while climbing in California's High Sierra. The book helped to establish Kings Canyon as a national park in 1940. Born Free and Equal, a photo-essay book about interned Japanese-Americans during World War II, is also notable for showing Adams′ ability to capture people as well as nature. Just over £3,197 will buy one of his Kodak Box Brownie cameras signed by the great man himself. Signed copies of his work are relatively easy to find but they are not cheap.
Adams′ technical contribution to the art of photography cannot be under-estimated. He co-founded the influential photography organisation, Group f/64, with the likes of Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham, and also co-pioneered the Zone System technique that gives photographers better control over finished images.