Happy New Year – Yosemite Valley Winter

December 31, 2012

yosemite valley winter by Ansel Adams

Yosemite Valley Winter by Ansel Adams – a Yosemite Special Edition Photograph

Ansel Adams made this image around 1959 with an 8″ x 10″ view camera. The image was once used in a commercial job, as he recalls in “Ansel Adams: An Autobiography:”
“In 1969, for one of my last commercial jobs, I selected a photograph, ‘Yosemite Valley , Winter’…for reproduction on a Hills Brothers coffee can. The idea was to produce something of lasting attractiveness after the original contents of the can had been consumed…Potentially corny: actually reasonable. There were thousands of three-pound cans filled with coffee sold nationwide in grocery stores for $2.35 each.”

When she saw the coffee cans, reliably acerbic Imogen Cunningham criticized him for selling out. Cunningham had shown her work alongside Adams and Edward Weston in the 1932 Group f/64 Exhibition at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco . To make her point, she had a friend deliver one of the cans filled with manure complete with a sprouting marijuana plant dubbing it a “pot in a pot.”

Ansel Adams took the ribbing well, saying:

“I enjoyed Imogen’s joke, but when my good friend and fellow photographer Henry Gilpin, then deputy sheriff of Monterey County , dropped by and spotted the plant he quietly suggested that I destroy it. I did.”

In addition to being ‘published’ on the coffee can, it is on the cover of Yosemite and the High Sierra.