SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – November 2011

Ansel Adams's Lost Photos?

David Howard investigates the mystery of 61 black-and-white negatives that are stirring up a hornet's nest of accusations, threats, and lawsuits.

by: David Howard

Rick Norsigian (Photo by Craig Kohlruss)
Rick Norsigian (Photo by Craig Kohlruss)
Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
Ansel Hall at Glacier Point
Ansel Hall at Glacier Point
    Tags:

Norsigian, of course, couldn’t imagine how much he was personally risking when he embarked on his photographic quest a decade ago. In 2001, he decided to tell the story of his find to Glenn Crosby, curator of the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley. Worst case, Norsigian figured, he would be dissuaded from his hunch and move on with his life. Crosby invited him up. In a back room, Norsigian spread out the dozen digital prints that he’d brought and showed Crosby the envelopes with the handwriting. Afterward, Norsigian recalls, Crosby asked him: “Do you want to talk to the family?” Meaning the Adamses.

“And I go, ‘Well, do you think I should? I don’t know if this is or isn’t,’” Norsigian recalls. “So he goes, ‘Well, let me put it to you—if it was me, I would do it.’ So then I got a little excited.” (Crosby has since left the gallery and couldn’t be reached for comment.)

While Norsigian hoped for a meeting with the Adams heirs, he also consulted the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, which houses Adams’s 60,000 known negatives. Norsigian sent 12 scanned photographs and copies of the handwriting on the envelopes. He says he received a reply stating that officials would consult the center’s archivist.

Soon after that, says Norsigian, Jeanne Adams, Ansel’s daughter-in-law, called about giving the negatives a look. She came to Norsigian’s house and examined the glass plates and the handwriting. “And then [she] turns to me and says, ‘Well, that’s not Ansel’s handwriting,’” Norsigian recalls. “So I apologized: ‘I’m sorry to bother you.’”

A few days later, another letter arrived from the Center for Creative Photography saying that the handwriting did not match Ansel’s, or his wife, Virginia’s, and that Ansel didn’t use a numbering system with his negatives. That’s that, Norsigian thought, and slid the box back under the pool table.




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Hiker/bear incident in GNP
Posted On: Jul 29, 2014
Submitted By: TravisNWood
Trailhead Register
Dog lovers
Posted On: Jul 29, 2014
Submitted By: mtnsteve
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions