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Ansel Adams in Hawai'i


"Ansel Adams in Hawai'i," an exhibition of photographs, goes on view June 27 through August 4, 2002, in the Henry R. Luce Gallery at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. The influential landscape photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984) was a conservationist and nature lover who specialized in interpreting the American landscape in the purest and most direct manner possible. He was deeply impressed with the expressive possibilities of "straight" photography and attempted to reveal the poetry of external reality through the optical objectivity of the camera and meticulous printing. (left: In the Rain Forest, Hawaii National Park, ca. 1957, gelatin-silver print, Gift of Mr and Mrs. Henry B. Clark, Jr., 1991, 21,004)

Although best recognized for his photographs of Yosemite and the California Coast, Adams also created stunning, but little-known photographs of Hawaii. Adams traveled to Hawaii in the 1950s, commissioned by the Bishop National Bank of Hawaii (founded 1858) to photograph the islands and its people for publication in The Islands of Hawaii (1958), a special commemorative centennial photo-documentary book featuring his work with commentary by Edward Joesting. Adams returned to the Islands a few years later and published a second volume of Hawaii photographs, An Introduction to Hawaii (1964), again with commentary by Edward Joesting. The Academy's exhibition will bring together and present to the public for the first time a selection of vintage and modern prints of Hawaii by Adams. (right: Lava Flow with Mauna Loa in the Background, Hawaii, ca. 1957, gelatin silver print, First Hawaiian Bank Collection)

The exhibition will feature prints from the collections of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, and other organizations. The prints, including stunning images of Hawaii's untouched landscapes; its thriving urban environment; its commercial, agricultural, ranching, industrial, and military activities; its historic and cultural resources; and its diverse population, will not only reflect the land, face, and spirit of Hawaii at mid-twentieth century, it will showcase the dramatic beauty, technical excellence, and expressive power of Adam's work.

Anne Hammond, a scholar in the history of photography and an Ansel Adams specialist, will guest curate the exhibition and prepare an essay, the first ever published, on Adam's work in Hawaii. Jennifer Saville, the Academy's Curator of Western Art, will serve as project director.


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