Ansel Adams’ assistant to speak at Effingham chamber banquet

by G.G. Rigsby, Savannah Now May 31, 2012

Photographer Alan Ross says the advent of digital cameras has given more people the opportunity and inclination to take photographs, resulting in more ordinary people capturing extraordinary images.

Ross, an internationally respected photographer and educator, will speak at the annual banquet of the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at Effingham County High School.

Friday, June 1, is the last day to make reservations to attend the banquet.

Ross lives in Santa Fe, N.M., and is best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American west. His photographs hang in collections and galleries around the world.

Ross also worked for years as Ansel Adams’ photographic assistant and will speak about the famous photographer and environmentalist’s approach and technique.

He said one of the things that struck him most about Adams, when he first went to work for him, was that he made “an awful lot of very ordinary photographs.”

“I was somewhat stunned to learn that he had no illusions and no expectations that every film he exposed would wind up being another one of what he fondly called his ‘Mona Lisas,’” Ross has said.

Amateurs have fancied themselves as photographers for quite some time now, and that’s “really not a bad thing,” he said.

He quotes a friend of his as saying, “If you buy a camera, you’re a photographer. If you buy a flute, you own a flute.”

Ross said serious photographers don’t feel threatened by people who enjoy taking photographs.

He enjoys teaching and specializes in helping photographers at any level and using all formats and styles. He said one concern he has is that people are taking thousands of digital photographs but are failing to back up the images.

When a hard drive dies, which is a very common occurrence, or when technology is outdated, people’s whole photo albums are sometimes lost. “Who has the equipment to read a 5 ¼-inch floppy?” he said. “Have prints made of stuff that means something to you.”

Some of Ross’s prints will be available for purchase after his speech.

Also at the banquet, the chamber’s 26th annual meeting, will be the presentation of the Treutlen Award for outstanding community service in Effingham County. The Small Business of the Year Award and the Beacon Award for a top local Ambassador volunteer will also be presented.

Awards will go to this year’s Leadership Effingham class, the Members of Distinction and others. Brooke Graham will be presented a plaque as retiring board president.

Tickets for the banquet, with dinner from Poppy’s BBQ, are $50 each. Tables of six, eight or 12 may be reserved.

For more information or to purchase individual tickets or tables, contact the chamber by emailing to beckyshea@effinghamcounty.com, ricklott@effinghamcounty.com or calling 912-754-3301. Fees may be paid by check or credit card.

For more information about Ross, go to www.alanrossphotography.com.