Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
i wouldn't have said "ain't nature grande' but i would have considered adam's work to be more like the grand landscape ..
aside from massive manipulations, at the taking and printing stage, i would suggest that the survey work osullivan did
for the federal government, if printed in the same "full scale" way ... if osullivan had film and enlarging paper / instead of
a tent filled with ether fumes, glass plates and cyanide ... ( to me at least ) maybe they would look pretty much the same.
You think? I've just been looking with some attention at O'Sullivan (I bought _Framing The West_, prompted by a recent thread on him), and I feel like the narrative of his photos is fundamentally different from Adams's. O'Sullivan's landscapes are rougher, more dangerous, and more inhabited---the whole storyline of Adams's grand-landscape work is about the *pristine* landscape, which I submit was not a primary concern for a guy who kept putting his developing tent in the photo!

AND if osullivan
was shooting dry plates instead of wet plates, he probably would have been using the system a lot of people used to manipulate
a negative at the taking stage to get a full scale negative, which adams renamed the zone system, and people mistakenly think he invented.
Yeah, I'd agree with that, and in general he might well have gravitated to most of the same techniques as Adams if he'd had the materials. I still get very different artistic voices from them, and I tend to think Adams deserves credit for the cultural birth of that pristine-grand-landscape gestalt in photography, even if he *did* reuse O'Sullivan's tripod holes to do it. (Indeed I think it speaks quite well of both of them that they could tell two different stories about the same raw material.)

getting back to the questions though, neither adams nor osullivan were shooting in a vacuum. they were both professionals, and well connected ....
and would have easily known what others were up to, whether those others were dead or alive ...
Agreed. I think we got here from someone's suggestion that St Ansel sprang fully formed from the brow of an activated silver-halide grain, or something, which might be a *tiny* bit exaggerated.

I don't think anyone learns in a vacuum, but I do think canons tend to be overrated.