Ansel Adams: Reverence for Life

May 11, 2007 - July 16, 2007
Kemper Art Museum


Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is celebrated as one of the world's foremost landscape photographers. The works included in Ansel Adams: Reverence for Life -- many of which are virtually unknown -- showcase the clean, lush vitality of the ocean, mountain streams, and lakes, which are shown alongside contrasting arid terrain. In this exhibition, by focusing on water and its role as one of our greatest natural forces, the works underscore the importance of the environment to Adams's work, as well as the ways in which his photographs raise awareness of environmental issues such as water scarcity still today. Ultimately this exhibition connects these essential concepts to the ways in which they illustrate Adams's dedication to these issues and reverence for life in all its forms.

The focus on a "reverence for life" is also underscored in this show through a variety of evocative personal connections, including the fact that the photographs will be drawn from collections from within Adams's family. Two short films will be screened: Conversations with Ansel Adams, with never-before-seen interview outtakes, as well as footage shot by Virginia Best in 1927 when Adams climbed up the snowy shoulder of Half Dome and exposed his last remaining glass plate, resulting in Monolith, the Face of Half Dome. These works, along with other personal memorabilia, help to uncover the motivations and inspirations that went into creating Adams's moving body of work.

Organized by guest curator Jeanne Falk Adams in conjunction with Washington University's Center for the Study of Ethics and Human Values, the International Symposium on Energy and Environment, and the World Agricultural Forum. Support for this exhibition was provided by the Ansel Adams Gallery, Yosemite National Park, and anseladams.com. All original silver gelatin prints are from the collections of Michael and Jeanne Adams and the Virginia Adams Trust.