Supposed Ansel Adams Negs Found at a Garage Sale

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by david b, Oct 30, 2009.

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  1. david b

    david b Member

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    Not sure if this has been posted before.

    Some guy bought a bunch of glass plate negs at a garage sale for $45.

    See the video here

    (isn't patrick alt a member here?)
     
  2. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Amazing! I would love to be that guy!
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I go to the wrong garage sales.
     
  4. mrmekon

    mrmekon Member

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    No kidding. This, and finding 8x10 view cameras at thrift stores? All I ever find are APS point-n-shoots :mad:
     
  5. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Wow, how cool is that. Patrick!!
     
  6. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Hmmm... the plot thickens:

    But the grandson of the artist is unconvinced of the claims.

    “Mr. Norsigian has been making these claims for a number of years and I have not seen convincing proof that they are Ansel’s negatives,” Mathew Adams was quoted as saying.

    “People have been photographing Yosemite since the late 1800s and that fact there are glass plate negatives of images of Yosemite does not therefore mean that they are Ansel’s.”
     
  7. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Bullshit is very difficult to sift through. However, I do wish I had a pile of million dollar bullshit from which I could extract a nice income.

    No negativity intended toward the OP. It's just my sense of incredulity, skepticism, cynicism, etc. creeping through. It sounds like an eBay-type scam to me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2009
  8. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Hmmm... Very cool to have found a whole box of glass negatives, but I wonder... was Ansel really fond of crooked horizons? (I only mention, because judging from some of my prints, apparently I am... :rolleyes: )
     
  9. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Yeah, it seems a little sketchy, but who knows. The red flag for me is that his attorney is described as an "entertainment lawyer" in one of the articles I read/saw. The handwriting issue seems pretty strong, but who is their expert? Seems they need some independent evaluation to cooberate.
     
  10. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    I'd agree with you except for a couple of things.

    1) one of the negatives was compared to a negative absolutely known to be Ansels. Judging from the time of day, the shape of the snow pack in the back ground of the picture, the precise matching of the viewpoint... down to the focal length, the suspect negative had to be taken with an 8x10 camera using the same focal lenth, in the same location (to the inch), in the same hour of the same day.
    2) Virginia's handwriting was on the manila envelopes containing the negatives.
     
  11. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    Uh... those negatives were hidden away in a wooden box and never saw the light of day for 50 years and were never published as prints precisely because of those crooked horizons. Ansel was a great guy and really smart but he was human and made mistakes.

    This box was filled with his mistakes.
     
  12. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I'll buy that. We all have more than a few negatives (or a few boxes full) we would never want to have shown as representative of our work. I'd venture to say, though that there are probably more crooked horizons made by the hordes who have followed the trail of tripod marks Ansel left in creating his masterpieces.

    Cheers,
     
  13. AmandaTom

    AmandaTom Member

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    Maybe Virginia took the pictures. That would account for her handwriting and the crooked horizons.
     
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  15. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    Entertainment lawyers deal extensively with issues of copyright. I think that's exactly who I would turn to if I were in the purchaser's position.
    juan
     
  16. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    Crooked horizons? I have only seen images that are "stills from a video" or in the newscast piece itself. Am I looking in the wrong place, or are people making judgments based on the video/stills - which were clearly shot without concern for the horizons?
     
  17. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    More interesting than the horizons is the concept that these images are worth a lot of money. Of course, they are worth whatever someone will pay, which is apparently a ton of bucks. Aren't plenty of Ansel negatives available for study (to proper researchers)? Adams shot A LOT. I would imagine thousands, maybe tens of thousands of his "slides" (as the newscast calls them) exist. And Ansel is no longer around to print them. I see it a little like finding Picasso's paints or perhaps marble Michaelangelo might have planned to sculpt. A painting or statue might be in them, but it will never be an original completed work by the master. Modern prints from people who worked closely with AA are available today and worth a lot less than a million dollars. I'm not discounting the value of the find (would love to have made it myself), but I don't understand the economics that would make it seven figures.
     
  18. Robert Brummitt

    Robert Brummitt Member

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    This is almost a great book. It reminds me of the stories of folks finding a lost master painters work in their attic. Of course the Adams family will be reserved on the matter. It's a loose thread of AA that they may not be able to control or profit from.
     
  19. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    AA's intentions were that his library of negatives would be shipped to the University of Arizona to be used in the department of photography. That never actually happened. The controllers of his Trust knew the value of the negatives.
     
  20. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    She wasn't interested in photography as far as I've read in any of the AA biographical works or the auto-biography.
     
  21. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    I've seen some instances in which practically identical photos were taken by different photographers not only on different days but different years. Sometimes there's really only one obviously good vantage point.
     
  22. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    If you haven't seen this already, the Rephotographic Survey does exactly this sort of thing. It is a great example of how things change, sometimes over very short periods of time, others over a century.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I was listening to CBC Radio 2 yesterday and Tom Allen was talking about this.

    He was speaking about this in the context of "those generally useless things that people buy at garage sales that usually have no value, but infrequently turn out to be worth a lot of money".

    I got to thinking about these glass plates and realized that I would have considered buying them and would most likely would enjoy owning them even if I knew that they had no market value, because I just think that they are neat.

    Matt
     
  24. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Perhaps another arguement for finding them, having been discarded as they were. Um, that would be a NO, Tom.
     
  25. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

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    That tree/bristlecone? photo isn't imo in the tripod holes
    Ansels tree is bowing the other is reaching
    Bowing tree seemingly blocks a nipple-like peak on the horizon

    I figure anyone with a camera up at that tree would have taken a photo
    How popular of a spot is it?

    It doesn't seem the snowpack is the same, either. Completely identical? I see quite a few areas that don't match up and the ones that do probably match up much of the time
    On video, of course
    Doesn't mean he didn't make separate trips, either ..but same day same time same channel?

    I've taken a few photos that were remarkably similar to anothers work I saw a year later
     

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  26. patrick alt

    patrick alt Member

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    Ansel Adams Negs-The Real Story

    Hi everyone,

    Just thought I would give you all of the story re the Ansel Adams lost negatives. The evidience is so overwhelming as to make your head spin. So in a nutshell here are the facts;

    Shot on 6 1/2 X 8 1/2 glass plates with a Korona as confirmed on page 3 of Ansels book Examples. This was one of his primary cameras of the 1920's. By coincidence, I also own the same camera.

    Several images have definite fire damage due to his studio fire in 1937.

    Virginia Adams handwriting are on the paper sleeves. Confirmed by independent hand writing analysis.

    These are definitely in the style of Ansel's work as they evolved over a period of time. To see them as I did you could just feel his presence.

    Lastly, one of the plates are an almost exact match to 2 5 X 7 images in The Center for Creative Photography in Tuscon. This is an image of a Jeffries Pine and close examination show the distant snow pack to be identical, meaning these images were taken moments apart. The is undeniable proof.

    Lastly, these negs were originally found in LA after the time Ansel was here in LA teaching at Art Center. I believe he brought them down as teaching tools.

    All of this evidence has convinced me without a shadow of a doubt that these are indeed lost treasures of Ansels early work that survived his fire. I am so honored to have been chosen to be a part of this team of experts and my knowledge of both Ansel's work and of being a working large format photographer has helped make this what I believe to be an airtight case. Why Matthew Adams and the Foundation continues to discredit this work, especially in light of the fact he has never seen them is a mystery to us all. It has been an incredible experience to hold these images in my hands. They are the real deal.

    Patrick Alt
     
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