Pedestrian Takes on Adams' Find

TheFramed, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I thought it was interesting to read some of the comments about the recent Ansel Adams find. So, I went to a popular website and followed a few.

One person wrote, “Photos that pleased Ansel Adams had a particular “look” derived from sharpness and depth of field, hard to determine in scenics.” My answer? Um, no. You can pretty much tell by looking what the depth of field in a photo is, sorry but that’s just wrong.

“By the way–these photographs look almost nothing like Anselm Adams to my eye. But I’m no expert!” You got that right. The part about not being an expert, I mean.

“Even if they are real they are worth nowhere near $200 million…Every photographer takes dozens if not hundreds of photographs for every one he deems “up to his standards”. Since these were unknown, unpublished photos, they were obviously “rejects” and thus not worth nearly as much.” Ansel Adams rejects are better than most photographers’ work that is “up to standards.” Also, the value of work depends heavily upon the artist who created it and, in this case, the residual sales made from selling things like posters, coffee mugs, and the like. You do own a coffee mug, don’t you? (Yeah, thought so. That’s where the 200 million dollar figure is coming from, bonehead.)

“Much ado about nothing. The photos are nice but I don’t think they would be worth anywhere near 200 million dollars.” Oh yes, we should take your opinion because, after all, you are an expert on the value of artwork.

“Hey, if someone would buy a piece of french toast that looked like Jesus for 20K on ebay anything is possible” Yes, anything is possible and, it would appear too that anybody can leave comments on the Internets-even uninformed idiots like you.

“I’ve seen a big tree once by him. I’m not impressed.” Oh, right. And the entire world of art exists only to impress you?

“I am an amateur photographer, nowhere near the level of Ansel, and I would NEVER leave my negatives behind. To suggest that Ansel would have been so careless is hard to believe. Especially since these are supposed to be the some of the only negatives to survive a fire.” Well, you got the “amateur” part right anyway. How many images did Adams expose in his lifetime? Yeah, right. Now you’re really going to tell me, with a straight face, you honestly believe not one of them got away? Even not since he’s dead and gone now? They all sort of just “cling” to him, just because?

“i guess girls were real ugly back in the day so he took pics of forests” Yeah, that’s it. Boobies make everything better. Go back to surfing porn on the Interwebs and please, leave the art world now. Don’t let the door hit your “hot booty” on the way out.

“Switch digital camera to black and white…….give me 200 million please. Give me a break most over-rated “Art” EVER. Anyone can snap off pictures” If it’s so easy, why don’t you do it? Go ahead. Let’s see your results then.

“Just about anybody with a modicum of darkroom skills with B&W chemistry today can recreate what Adam did 60+ years ago. The dude even wrote a book telling EXACTLY how to do it (3 of them, actually). The real key is the exposure and the plate densities. The printing is like paint-by-numbers.” Oh, so the light had nothing to do with it then? Sorry, but that’s a little bit like me saying, “I could be an Olympic swimmer if only I knew how not to sink. If it weren’t for the pesky knowing how to swim bit…” They even have books written by experts on swimming and yet, alas, I still don’t know how to do it. Go figure.

“Anyone dumb enough to pay ridiculous money for a photographic print is a fool anyway.” Oh right. So we should all invest in Justin Bieber lunchboxes instead? Next.

“Ansel Adams went to some of the most remote places to take these great pictures. With that being said, Does that mean I cannot take the same picture just because Ansel took it first? Nobody owns the Moon.” True, but that still doesn’t mean anybody can take a great photo of it. I think you should go there and find out. Right now. Seriously. Want a punch?

“I wonder what dingy would waste their money buying black & white pictures of nature anyway?…It goes contrary to the idea that nature is full of beautiful colors.” I don’t even want to touch this one.

“Even I notice that these images certainly do not have the same flair of contrast seen in Ansel’s other works, and could easily have been taken by Edward Weston, Man Ray, Imogen Cunningham or any of the other photographers of the day who shot the Yosemite valley. Look them up, they all have pics from that area.” Ah, no. I won’t say for certain if they were made by Adams or not, but they were not done by the other photographers listed, sorry. Just wrong, but thanks for playing. Bzzzzt. Next!

“You know what I never understood…why people pay so much just because a particular person took the picture…I mean give me a break….How hard is it to frame a nice shot? “ You should try it sometime and find out. Here’s a hint: if it were so easy, everybody would have “nicely framed shots” all the time, wouldn’t they?

It’s been an interesting story for me to follow, in part because I’m learning just how stupid the general public is and how uninformed people are about photography. I mean, saying they are not worth 200 million, yeah, maybe that parts up for debate and asserting that Adams didn’t really take them, that’s something best left to the scientists and art historians, but nobody could even make up stuff this good. Seriously. (Do people even think before they post crap online anymore or do they just blindly push “send” and hope for the best?)

Until next time…


  1. mythopolis
    July 29, 2010 / 6:40 pm

    Excuse me. I think his work is awesome, but I still think that anyone shelling out 200 mil has got to be an asshole. Show me what this buyer is doing for mankind, and maybe I can live with it. Meanwhile, art is for the greedy rich, and amateurs who just love the act of making. I do sense that these glasses of Adams are major, but the calamity about that is just a bunch of aristocratic elite shit. If you want to 'refudiate' that, fire away.

  2. Carol
    July 31, 2010 / 4:02 am

    I don't think it's one buyer but more like gradual royalties over time, since Adams' work sells a lot of coffee mugs, posters, and the like. As far as what it's doing for mankind? It's brightening up the collective days of the downtrodden masses. That's reason enough for 200 million, isn't it? I mean, who is to really say what the value of art is? I know I have a hard time putting a price on it.

    But, yeah, lots of collectors, greedy rich, and idiots like us who love to just slap paint on canvas-the art world is full of 'em.

    It takes all types, I guess, to keep it interesting, doesn't it?

    But, yeah, you have a point. 200 million would buy a heck of a lot of paint tubes and the rich will eat themselves if given the opportunity (and the price were right.)


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