Ansel Adams exhibit returns to Turtle Bay

by Damon Arthur November 16, 2012

Exhibit opened initially at Redding exploration park in 2002

After 10 years, Turtle Bay Exploration Park has put on display its collection of prints from famous photographer Ansel Adams.

The exhibit, which opened Thursday, includes 48 prints that were one of the first displays at the park’s museum when it opened in 2002. Since then, the prints have been at times in storage and at other times on the road, displayed at museums around the country, said Turtle Bay spokesman Toby Osborn.

Turtle Bay officials wanted to bring the prints back home and display them as part of the museum’s 10-year anniversary, he said. The exhibit, called “Ansel Adams: Masterworks,” will be on display through Jan. 13.

The 48 signed prints represent most of a set of photographs Adams assembled as the “museum set,” Turtle Bay officials said. The prints were donated to the museum by Dr. Fidel Realyvasquez, formerly of Redding.

The exhibit includes many of Adams’ more famous photographs of the American West, such as those of Yosemite National Park and New Mexico landscapes. Pat Clark, of Redding, and a friend came out to Turtle Bay on opening day to see the prints.

“We both just really like Ansel Adams’ works, and we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to come and see it,” Clark said.

Clark said she was impressed with the work Adams did developing prints in the darkroom as much as he did with his camera. She said one of her favorites was “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” which shows a small cemetery in the foreground, a mountain range in the background and the moon above in a black sky.

“How the heck did he get that?” Clark said. “Every little cross is lit up. He even got the moon too.

“It really is a spectacular photo. He’s really saying ‘Look at all these people. They’re not forgotten,'” she said, pointing at the graves in the picture. While Adams was well-known as a landscape photographer, the exhibit includes photos of American Indians and families impoverished during the Great Depression.

Julia Cronin, the museum’s curator of collections and exhibits, said Adams often visited the same area many times and waited until he could get the photo he wanted.

“Sometimes there’s just an emotional moment,” Cronin said. That feeling is conveyed through the photographs, she said.

“They have a lot of emotional depth and impact,” she said.