L.A. gallery tackles Ansel Adams photo controversy with show of known Adams works, mystery contenders
Works from the three leading players in this summer’s big art-photography controversy will be hung in a Los Angeles gallery on Saturday for a brief exhibition aimed at giving folks a chance to see what the hubbub is all about, and maybe make up their own minds.
One is Ansel Adams, America’s greatest nature photographer, who’ll be represented by about 20 prints — hand-developed and signed by Adams himself and guaranteed to be authentic by the Duncan Miller Gallery on Venice Boulevard, which is putting on the show.
As for the other two, well, exactly who the photographers are is still a matter of conjecture.
Three pictures are prints from the widely-publicized but hotly-disputed garage-sale find of Rick Norsigian, the Fresno resident who believes he possesses a trove of 65 “lost” photographs that Adams shot in the 1920s and early 1930s.
Next to each Norsigian image will be its look-alike equivalent that's attributed by some of Norsigian’s highly-placed opponents to “Uncle Earl” Brooks, the previously unknown photographer they contend is the man who actually shot all the pictures in the Norsigian find.
“This is the first time these prints have been exhibited side by side,” gallery owner Daniel Miller said Wednesday.
Miller isn’t selling the Norsigians or the Uncle Earls. Those, he says, are borrowed prints he’s displaying for educational purposes only. But at least some of the Adams photographs can be purchased, with an asking price of $80,000 to $90,000 for the most famous image in the show, “Moonrise Over Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941” (pictured).
After the Saturday opening, the show, which is free, will resume for four more days, Sept. 15-18. Sept. 19 will feature a lecture on Adams and a panel discussion about the Norsigian controversy, with a $40 admission for the program.
Click here to read more about how the show came about.
-- Mike Boehm
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Photos: Top: Images of Jeffrey pine in Yosemite; Bottom: "Moonrise Over Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941." Credits: Marian Walton (top left)/Rick Norsigian Collection (top right); Ansel Adams/Duncan Miller Gallery.