This weekend I went to an exhibition at the Autry Museum of a couple of photography collections; the first is the Group f.64 which if you are not aware was a group of photographers in the 30s the most famous of whom was probably Ansel Adams, the second was the more recent photographer Richard Misrach.
I wasn’t previously aware of Richard Misrach but I liked very much the work on display which was mostly landscapes highlighting man’s impact or interaction with the natural world. I will certainly look more into his work.
I’m a big fan of Adams and other members of that group so was looking forward to seeing some actual prints of theirs in person.
Coincidentally, last week, a website I follow (PetaPixel) posted a link to a short film about one of Adams’ most famous images “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” where the man himself re-visits the site and describes how he took it. It also talks about the work put in in the printing process (which is where most of his images came alive) comparing the original negative to the finished print.
As I hadn’t yet watched the film and as that actual photo was in this collection it was really great to combine the two and be able to sit in front of the image and hear how it was created. I love that Adams knew what the luminance of the moon was off the top of his head so that, despite not being able to find his exposure meter, he was able to take the photo successfully. Interesting was that this was a taken when Adams suddenly saw the scene driving along and suddenly pulled over to capture it. This was using large format so no quick snap like we can with an SLR, the equipment had to be set up and after capturing this one shot the light had changed and it was gone so no second attempts.
If you like Adams or any of the other members of that group, or even if you are interested in photography it’s well worth the visit. These artists revolutionized photography at the time and we probably all follow in their footsteps. I hadn’t really looked closely at the work of Willard Van Dyke or Edward Weston before and seeing their images, and how many of mine are of a similar subject matter, gave me some inspiration and confidence. I assume I must have subconsciously absorbed this kind of thing either directly or via other similar artists.
I went out today and took the below in a small (and hasty) attempt to imitate Willard Van Dyke just so that there is at least one image on this post about photography.