Ansel Adams is outdoor photography’s rock star—and if things had gone differently, he could have been an actual musical star. As a youngster, Adams wavered between becoming either a classical pianist or a photographer. Thankfully, the latter won—and his artistic works became famous worldwide. However, upon close observation, the lyrical vision remained—nuanced clarity and depth rich in middle tones, like a chamber-music melody.
Rarely seen pieces from private collections and museums are displayed in Early Works. These small-scale photos—printed on vintage silver gelatin—were more rustic than his later red-filtered, more defined and more recognizable high-gloss photos of the American West. Familiar works, albeit originals, like “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome,” are juxtaposed with some oddities— exciting for enthusiasts and newcomers alike—like “Mormon Temple, Manti, Utah” or a rare human study, “Alfred Steiglitz at an American Place.”