After Ansel Adams, Photographers Breathe New Life Into An Iconic Subject

After Ansel Adams, Photographers Breed New Life Into an Iconic Subject

It's impossible to think about Yosemite Valley without Ansel Adams coming to mind. The photographer's countless breathtaking images of that location, and others in the western United States, shaped our perception of the region and landscape photography in general. But artists continue to bring their own experiences and techniques to the task of depicting the American West.

An exhibition currently on display at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego shows off the work of contemporary photographers offering unique ways of looking at this iconic subject. The show, aptly titled After Ansel Adams, includes photographs that are diverse in both material technique and subject matter. Some reference history by using obsolete processes like the Daguerrotypes of Binh Danh, while some utilise modern tools to describe the landscape as in the collages of Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe.

After Ansel Adams, Photographers Breed New Life Into an Iconic Subject

At the Edge of the Lake (Pinnacles National Park, California)

Donna J. Wan

Archival inkjet print

Courtesy of the artist

(c) Donna J. Wan


After Ansel Adams, Photographers Breed New Life Into an Iconic Subject

Mountains + Valleys (Canyonlands #1),

Millee Tibbs

Archival digital print

Courtesy of the artist

(c) Millee Tibbs


After Ansel Adams, Photographers Breed New Life Into an Iconic Subject

In the Fog (Haleakalā National Park, Maui) Donna J. Wan

Archival inkjet print

Courtesy of the artist

(c) Donna J. Wan


After Ansel Adams, Photographers Breed New Life Into an Iconic Subject

Rock formations on the road to Lee's Ferry, AZ, 2008

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe

Digital inkjet print

Courtesy of the artists

© Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe


After Ansel Adams, Photographers Breed New Life Into an Iconic Subject

Mountains + Valleys (Yosemite #4),

Millee Tibbs

Archival digital print

Courtesy of the artist

(c) Millee Tibbs


The idea of the show is an important one: by revisiting a subject so overtaken by the weight of history and culture, we can gain new insight into how to approach something with new eyes. Even the most cliche subject matter can be looked at differently. After Ansel Adams should inspire every photographer to not be intimidated by history when going out to shoot!

Picture: Cathedral Rocks and Cathedral Spires, Yosemite, CA, May 11, 2012. Binh Danh.

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