July 22nd, 12:31am

Like the mountains he photographed, so does Ansel Adams loom in the history of photography. With knowledge and enthusiasm, Assistant Curator Michael Wise led us on a behind-the-scenes Fine Print Tour at the Ansel Adams gallery. Telling stories of Ansel, Michael showed us a number of lesser known prints ranging his entire career, revealing Ansel as a technician, lover of whiskey, experimenter, and problem solver.

Ansel Adams moved to Yosemite as a young man with dreams of being a concert pianist. He took a job as a janitor in the Sierra Club. But pretty soon, club members were inviting Ansel on their hikes, and purchasing his photographs as keepsakes. Once he saw that he could apply his creativity to picture-making, he left the field with these innovations: that photographs weren’t only documents, but could be fine art prints themselves. That everyone should be able to afford a photograph. And that his beloved landscapes, through technical wizardry in the darkroom, could be the star of any composition.