Ansel Adams: Performing the Print at the Center for Creative Photography

Spring 2018
A photograph of an attendee looking at a photograph closely and intently

Ansel Adams said that the photographic negative was like a composer’s score, and the print a performance. As home of the Ansel Adams Archive, the Center for Creative Photography illustrates Adams’ meaning. This exhibition of 24 photographs features sets of two or three prints that show how on different occasions Adams created varying interpretations from his own negatives. The exhibition also features a small selection of prints that span the master’s six-decade career to highlight his particular talent and sensitivity as a photographic printer.

A photograph of two guests looking at a photograph of a mountain range

A photograph of a man wearing a red cap looking at a sequence of three photos

Comparing more than one print from the same negative demonstrates Adams’ choices in cropping, dodging and burning as well as overall contrast and brightness. Above all, these comparisons show that Adams invested time and care in each handmade print, producing interpretive artworks that come as much from his imagination as from the landscapes he stood before. 

A couple looking at a photograph and pointing at a detail

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