Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
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!
i think you are right ... ansel adam's work was made to be "art" or "fine art" or "a sierra club calender" and
o'sullivan made the photographs for the federal government to record the property they had just "bought" ... surveys so they could make maps.
definitely different "genres" but sort of the same. ...

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.)
who knows what would have happened if their places in history were swapped. if ansel adams was the government contractor and osullivan was the "artist" ...
i think adam's work might have looked like osullivan's ( except for the tent )
and osullivan would have had 20 shades of grey because his materials would have allowed it.

we are lucky to live in a time where we can easily see work of a bizillion different photographers or painters or ... just a keystroke away
it wasn't too long ago that traveling shows that presented magic lantern slides + stereoscopic views &c were common ...