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Ansel Adams Publishing Trust files suit against Rick Norsigian

August 23, 2010 |  6:01 pm

Adams

The controversy surrounding a stash of photo negatives that its owner claims were taken by Ansel Adams took a legal turn on Monday when the trust representing the famed nature photographer filed a lawsuit to halt the sale of prints.

Rick Norsigian, an artist based in Fresno, owns the negatives that he contends are the creation of Adams. The artist purchased the negatives at a garage sale for $45. But Adams' heirs and the managers of his copyrights have challenged Norsigian's claims, insisting that the negative aren't the work of the famous photographer. They have also dismissed claims that the collection is worth $200 million.

On Monday, the Ansel Adams Publishing Trust sued Norsigian to stop him and the consulting firm PRS Media Partners from using Adams' name, likeness and trademark to sell prints not authorized by the Trust, according to an Associated Press report.

The suit, which was filed in federal court in San Francisco, alleges trademark infringement and other claims. A lawyer for Norsigian told the AP that the suit is without merit and designed to harass his client.

The collection at the heart of the controversy comprises 65 glass-plate negatives featuring scenes from Yosemite and coastal California. Norsigian hired his own team of authenticators who turned out to be virtual unknowns in the photography world.

-- David Ng

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He is glass-plate positive

Photo: Rick Norsigian unveils the prints made from a stash of negatives he bought at a garage sale that some appraisers say is the work of Ansel Adams. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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