The Nasher Museum presented a small installation of works by Ansel Adams in the Incubator, part of The New Galleries. Sharp Focus: Ansel Adams and American Photography presented a view into the rich and diverse body of work of one of the most iconic American artists of the 20th century. Born in 1902 in San Francisco, Ansel Adams was a pioneering photographer acclaimed for his striking subject matter and distinct techniques. He is widely known for his use of the “zone system,” which allowed for the manipulation of photographs during the developing process and resulted in a broad spectrum of black and white tones. Primarily a photographer of the American West, Adams’s work often alludes to the fragility, resilience and harmony of nature. His involvement with the land transcended his photographs and he became a central figure in the national conservation movement at a time when growing industry began to threaten the nation’s natural resources. Adams’s interest in nature is reflected in the selection of 18 gelatin silver prints of U.S. National Parks and the Southwest taken between the 1920s and the 1960s.
This installation was organized by Duke University student interns Annalise Johnson (T’16) and Rosemary Williams (T’16). The photographs were a bequest from Aubrey Courtney Shives, Jr. (T’66).
Ansel Adams, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941. Gelatin silver print, 15 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches (39.4 x 49.5 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Bequest of the Aubrey Courtney Shives, Jr. (T’66) Trust; 2011.8.16. © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.