Heads up Ansel Adams fans and landscape photographers! You might want to mark your calendars as early as now and plan ahead your next visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. An upcoming exhibit is set to bring together the landscape master’s most renowned work with those of his 19th century predecessors and over 20 contemporary artists who presently delve into the same subjects and themes.
Called Ansel Adams in Our Time, the MFA exhibit happening from December 13, 2018 to February 24, 2019 aims to create a bigger picture that explores Ansel Adams’ legacy. Apart from pieces drawn from the Lane Collection — one of the biggest and most significant collections gifted to the MFA, which includes 500 Ansel Adams’ photographs — the exhibit will also showcase masterpieces of his predecessors and contemporary artists loaned from public institutions, galleries, and private collections. If you’re keen on finding out who and what inspired the iconic landscape photographer, and want to discover what he in turn inspired in generations of creatives later, this is an experience you shouldn’t miss.
Perhaps unknown to many, Adams was inspired by photographers ahead of him who were commissioned into government survey and expedition photography. These include Carleton Watkins (1829–1916), Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), Timothy O’Sullivan (1840-1882), and Frank Jay Haynes (1853–1921). He was at times even compelled to recreate their exact perspectives of the Yosemite Valley, Canyon de Chelly, and Yellowstone; his photos eventually emerging as the symbols of the US national parks.
Adams’ legacy continues to trickle into the creative consciousness of many artists and photographers today. MFA cites Mark Klett (b. 1962), Trevor Paglen (b. 1974), Catherine Opie (b. 1961), Abelardo Morell (b. 1948), Victoria Sambunaris (b. 1964), Binh Danh (b. 1977) and Laura McPhee (b. 1958) as among those inspired not only by the locations he immortalized but also the ongoing issues portrayed in his works.
Image via Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, about 1937, Ansel Adams, © The Ansel Adams Publishing Trust