Ansel Adams Exhibit - St. Pete: A review
I just got back from the Ansel Adams exhibit in St. Pete – some of the other people who's prints are exhibited along with the Adam prints: Edward Weston, Bret Weston, Minor White, Winn Bullock, and others who I cannot recall at this moment, but the showing was inspiring. A good number of Adams' prints are displayed, all but two of which were printed by him. A number are 8x10/11x14 or so, and the rest are a good bit larger, and one was just plain huge. Some of these show quite a bit more contrast than the way they are represented in 'Examples: the making of 40 photographs', which is something that I understand he did in his later years. Here are some that are in the book:
Monolith: The print on exhibit shows somewhat less detail that the reproduction in the book – it has more contrast and so the shadows are a bit difficult to make out, but the overall print is stunning.
Moonrise: Wow, there is a lot more detail in this print than in the reproduction despite the smaller size (8x10 or 11x14 I believe). The clouds really glow and there is a lot of detail in the town that you just can't get out of the one in the book. Contrary to popular sentiment, this is not my personal favorite of his prints, but it is quite amazing just the same.
Sand Dunes, Sunrise: This one is hung next to a sand dune by Huntington Witheril, which is very high key. The contrast between Adams's and Witheril's is quite striking. Again, the Adams print shows more contrast than the reproduction.
Aspens: Amazing. Simply amazing. I cant' say anything else about this except that the print in the exhibit is quite large. I was quite taken by this one.
Mount Williamson: Wow, the print on display is so different from the one in the book it is amazing. The display shows much better contrast (In my humble opinion) and is so much more powerful for it. The sky glows, just radiates – wow – and the rocks are so alive, where in the book the print looks flat and lacks the same feel altogether.
Clearing Winter Storm: Another wow moment. This is so much better than any other version that I've seen – again more contrast than the book, by far. Very moving for it too.
White House Ruin: Speechless. This is the is the largest of the prints on display (~4' tall or so) and is nothing short of amazing.
Moon and Half Dome: Once again, the displayed print shows far more contrast than the one in the book, and for that it has somewhat less detail in the rock. Very interesting.
That's it for those in the book, but there are some really strong prints who's names I cannot recall right now. The prints of the others are very interesting, but I can say that there were a few that I just didn't care for at all. Sorry I can't remember all the names of those displayed, but there are some very inspiring prints to look at. The rest of the museum is amazing as well.
Right now there are some large prints by other photographers on the first floor, along with work by Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Goya, Rodin, Marin, and many, many others that is just breathtaking. I'm going back again, although I don't know when just yet. If you go, please consider taking a few moments to see the other works in the museum – some of them were powerful enough to make me forget to breathe. Be warned, there is little parking (street only) and the meters only go to one hour. For those who linger and think that you can beat the meter maid for that extra 5 minutes, the parking tickets cost $17...