Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ansel Adams in a New Light


New Exhibit
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
I doubt that most people realize that Ansel Adams did a lot of pioneering work with Polaroid films and their cameras, and was a good friend of Edwin Land. Adams felt that the instant process was a great idea, and did a lot of testing for Land. The latest exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum -- "Ansel Adams and Edwin Land: Art, Science and Invention - Photographs from the Polaroid Collection" is a really interesting look into that collaborative venture. Obviously, Land felt that having a highly-regarded photographer of Adams' stature work with the new materials would be a vindication of the new process, and not only did Ansel use the films, he did extensive testing. The letters, test photos and eventual fine-art photographs produced with Polaroid films and cameras, are a remarkable exhibit from the Polaroid Corp.

I have read Adams' book on using Polaroid materials, but did not realize that many of his highly-regarded works of later years were produced with the Positive/Negative B&W Polaroid films. That was a new revelation for me. In addition, there are many works by Adams that Edwin land purchased from him -- BIG prints that probably graced his offices at one time. It's a really fine exhibit that includes color SX-70 images, as well the b&w works. It certainly should not be missed by Polaroid devotees, nor by lovers of AA's work. The exhibit runs from June 23 - August 27 of this year.

Another exhibit running concurrently is that of Architectural Photography by Hedrich Blessing Studio -- "Building Images: Seventy years of photography at Hedrich Blessing." There are some amazing examples of fine architectural photography from this Chicago firm. Definitely another must-see!