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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Caffeine Fueled Adventure

Five weeks to 'wheels up' on another adventure! I am so amazed, but not too surprised, at the awesome resources and friends I have discovered on the internet! I have made new friends to hang out with down there already. Its like photographers are just friends anywhere in the world and want to hang out shoot. And I am so looking forward to the coffee:)

Ansel Adams prints on the cheap:)

Ansel Adams prints on the cheap:)

Before the internet was actually useful to most of us I took on a personal challenge to get an Ansel Adams photograph for next to nothing and were not talking postcards. For those of you who don't know, images taken for the government, Federal U. S. Government in this case, are under public domain. Which means the copyright is not owned by the photographer because you, the taxpayer, already paid for it. In this case, if you know anything about out late Master Photographer Mr Adams, prints can and have sold for tens of thousands of dollars. And as many know, his popular black and white images of the Yosemite Valley are his most know works.
Enter the commercial professional photographer. All pros of the photo persuasion can tell you of the work that needs to be done to actually pay the bills. Most true artists do not let this stop them from creating imagery that sings to them. Adams was no different. Some of his major commercial ventures were government projects. One of which is "Fiat Lux" a book on the University of California system up to the building of UC Irvine in the 1960's. Another was to document the Manzanar, the Japanese American Internment Camp near Lone Pine California. Located in the shadow of Adams' favorite subject, the Sierra Nevada he spent time documenting the war relocation camp in 1943. I have had a fascination with this period of American history for a long time. It is important to remember what choices we have in time of war and the consequences of those choices.
Because his work was paid for by the people of the U. S. Adams' work can be reprinted and purchased at cost from the Library of Congress in Washington D. C.
What we take for granted now was a three hour, three building process in 1993. That was the first year I had an email address and was savvy on all things photo while about to graduate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
The print. I had a good idea where to start because as with most libraries you need a library card to get anywhere. Once a card was obtained it was off to the archive building to the research microfilm and books of archive images by subject to find an image I wanted. Once I lighted on that it was off to a reproduction building to order the 16x20 archival mat print! It turns out I was the first person to order that image so an internegative needed to be made so the original negative can be preserved. Again, before a digital scan could be made. Four weeks later with print in hand, I began the process of spotting for three hours and matting and framing it myself. I have enjoyed it ever since.