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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ansel Adams, or Uncle Earl?

A fairytale-come-true that maybe didn't.

Comments (7)

If it's too good to be true....

The category: Feed the 24/7 News Cycle. Just get a story in the pipeline and if it's not true, you get another later when you explain the hoax.

It now appears even our flight attendant meltdown guy may not be the working class hero initially presented. And even that was shaky - who quits a job in today's economy?

Remember Paul Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble"?:

"These are the days of lasers in the jungle,
Lasers in the jungle somewhere,
Staccato signals of constant information,
A loose affiliation of millionaires
And billionaires..."

Well, we've taken it from "The Boy in the Bubble" to "Balloon Boy" - a ufo-looking, jiffy pop bag floating across the sky on live TV and guess what? There could be a boy inside!!!!!!!!

"We'll follow this breaking story, but now back to the studio."

"Thanks, Biff, we've just gotten word of some old negatives from a famous photographer and get this: They're worth 200 million dollars!"

I think Earl Brooks would be insulted that his work was attributed to that hack Ansel Adams.

Like Adams or not, he is the standard bearer. Not Edward Weston, not Paul Strand, not even Stieglitz.

In the case of the particular photo by Brooks, Adams never would have printed that way. Yes, early materials did not have the latitude that papers in the later 20th Century, but that blown out sky would have been anathema to Adams. if that's the best of Brooks, well, what can I say?

Early history of photography is replete with excellent work. One of them, Carlton Watkins, has work in both the Historical Society and I believe the State Library. His work is dynamite!

There are lots of unanswered questions. Was Brooks a colleague of Adams? Did they work together, perhaps in Adams darkroom and left the plate there, subsequently suffering damage? If so, where are his prints before the fire damaged the negs? Is it Brooks plate or Adams?

On and on.

Stieglitz was a pimp. Adams though did write an excellent series on Photography though. No darkroom should be without it.

"Stieglitz was a pimp."

Stieglitz pimped who? Strand, Adams, O'Keefe? From your statement, are we to conclude gallery owners are pimps?

Darkrooms are passe'.

I do have the original series, as well as his re-write, which is not as good as the original. I disagree with his film developing data, especially as he refused, on principle, to give such data in the first series. The films profiled are for the most part, unavailable today, along with much of the chemistry.

As for Adams, he well understood the power of darkness and light, and the Oneness derived from the reconciliation of these two polar opposites. The Yin and the Yang. His best prints are singular expressions of that oneness.

The action is joined:

Re: "Darkrooms are passé." (Lawrence Hudetz)

"'Mr. Adams was fond of likening a negative to a composer's score and the prints to its performance — each performance differs in subtle ways,' the lawsuit said. 'The photographic prints and posters offered for sale by defendants ... are not an Ansel Adams "performance."'"

Clearly, performance standards have changed with the move from grain to pixil. Yet the adulation of Adams may be far too much a worship of metaphor. Don't look to the courtroom for much of interest in the way of photographic criticism.

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