In 1940 Los Angeles had a population of 1.5 million. The cost of gas was 10 cents and a new car was $700. The U.S. began rearming for World War II and the prestigious Ansel Adams was commissioned by Fortune Magazine to photograph a series of images for an article covering the aviation industry in the Los Angeles area. For the project, Adams took over 200 black & white photographs showing everyday life, businesses, street scenes and a variety of other subjects. But when the article, City of the Angels, appeared in the March 1941 issue, only a few of the images were included.
In the early 1960s Adams rediscovered the photographs among papers at his home in Carmel and donated them to the Los Angeles Public Library. He wrote in a letter: “The weather was bad over a rather long period and none of the pictures were very good… I would imagine that they represent about $100.00 minimum value… At any event, I do not want them back.” But as many critics will agree, sometimes an artist is not always the best judge of their own work.
A few months back I was watching a short documentary about how the Los Angeles Public Library had acquired several hundred Ansel Adams photos and they could be reprinted for a nominal fee, so naturally when I saw a flyer for the show my interest was piqued and wanted to attend.
I had the pleasure of attending the Ansel Adams – Los Angeles exhibit this last weekend at the DrkRm Gallery in downtown Los Angeles. I have to say, on the whole, I was not very impressed with the photos. There were a few fantastic shots but there were many more that failed to leave any sort of impression other than some mild mid-century documentary appeal. That being said, I would recommend going and checking it out. While you are in the area you could check out a few other shows going on, the “LUMIERE.” at Ground Floor Gallery looks interesting
Ansel Adams – Los Angeles
727 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
hours: wednesday-saturday 12-6 pm
sunday 12-4 pm or by appointment
source: DrkRm Gallery