Friday, September 07, 2012

Ansel Adams: The Manzanar Project

At lunchtime I visited the Scott Nichols Gallery at 49 Geary to see a show of 50 Ansel Adams photographs of the World War II Manzanar relocation camp. Many photos emphasize Manzanar's natural surroundings, but there are also portraits & scenes of everyday life, imagery not typically associated with Ansel Adams. I liked the fleeting moment he caught of a woman, in a long handmade scarf, perhaps saying good-bye to the unseen occupant of an automobile. The pictures are not overtly political in the way that Dorothea Lange's photos of the same subject are. A staff member at the gallery told me that on opening night people commented on how happy the internees look, but the images need to be read with the appropriate cultural & political subtext. The prints on display were made from the original negatives in 1985 by the Fresno Metropolitan Museum. This institution has since gone bankrupt, & its 6 sets of these photos are now in various hands.

§ Ansel Adams
The Manzanar Project
September 6 – October 27, 2012
Scott Nichols Gallery

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