When I have a subject that I feel is unusual I try always to make a duplicate exposure simply because there might be an accident like this one or a defect in the image area. But if the subject is fleeting, like the facial expressions in this image, there is no way to make duplicates.” – Ansel Adams
Unfortunately the negative for the picture of O’Keeffe and Cox was badly damaged. The reel of film “slipped out of the clothes-pin on the drying wire, fell to the floor, and was stepped on [in the dark]! The only frame out of the thirty-six that was damaged was this one, by far the best of the roll,” Ansel wrote. The resulting scratches across the center of the picture must be meticulously spotted out in a fine print, a difficult task (Stillman, p. 97). Consequently, Ansel printed this image very infrequently over the course of his life.
Few prints of this image exist, outside of the Museum Set. Ansel rarely printed from the negative until late in his career, and all most of the examples he made were in an 11×14 inch format. This superb example is in “Pristine” condition, with evidence of studio retouching typical of this image. This is the first time in over 20 years that The Ansel Adams Gallery is offering an original gelatin silver print of “Georgia O’Keeffe and Orville Cox, Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, 1937”.