The Portfolios of Ansel Adams
From 1948 to 1976 Ansel Adams produced seven limited-edition portfolios. Each portfolio was comprised of ten to fifteen signed silver gelatin photographs. In all there are ninety superb images including many of Adams’ most famous monumental landscape photographs and some remarkable, less familiar portraits and architectural studies. He was renowned for his work in the darkroom and he printed every image for every portfolio himself. Adams placed great value upon technical mastery of his craft, carefully evaluating gradations of light in the image, manipulating degrees of exposure, and constantly experimenting with new techniques.
In the eloquent introduction for the 1977 book The Portfolios of Ansel Adams, John Szarkowski (Director of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art 1962 to 1991) observed that, “of all Adams’ publications, his portfolios most clearly represent his personal view of the meaning of his work.”
Conceived and dedicated to the memory of Alfred Stieglitz to honor
Ansel’s friendship and association from 1933 until his death in 1946.
Portfolio Two - The National Parks and Monuments, dedicated to Albert Bender
In 1950 Ansel Adams released Portfolio II, a set of 15 photographs, to commemorate the National Parks and Monuments.
Portfolio Three - Yosemite Valley, dedicated to Nancy and Beaumont Newhall
“In these sixteen photographs are many deep echoes of experience from more than forty years in Yosemite Valley.
Portfolio Four - What Majestic Word
is my intention to present - through the medium of photography -
intuitive observations of the natural world which may have meaning to
the spectators, just as they might have had meaning to him. And through
them I hope that some of the quality, sensitivity and heart of Russell
“What is Adams trying to say to us? He says he can’t verbalize about
what only photographs can say. He says only that this portfolio seems
to sum up certain qualities and feelings he has not clarified
before...it is clear once we open this portfolio. It is a profound
statement by a great photographer.” Nancy Newhall, 1970
in 1970, edition of 110 copies, there are 100 copies numbered 1 through
100 and 10 copies lettered A through J. With introduction by Nancy