Ansel Adams discovery sparks row as family say negatives are fakes – Telegraph

- - Blog News

Bill Turnage, managing director of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, said: “It’s an unfortunate fraud. It’s very distressing.”

via  Telegraph.

There Are 9 Comments On This Article.

  1. from the article linked above: “Norsigian is charging $7,500 for prints from the negatives and Mr Streets estimated that the set could be worth at least $200 million.”

    A print from an Ansel Adams shot negative is only worth that kind of money if Adams or one of his assistants printed it..

    Let’s assume for a minute that what he found indeed are indeed glass plates negatives exposed and developed by Ansel Adams career. The negatives will have some intrinsic value but with Adams what makes the difference is the prints he made from his negatives. One friend of mine in the fine art photography collecting world thinks the entire collection of these negatives are worth maybe $2,000,000, and he emphasized the “maybe” part.

    Ansel Adams himself made a musical analogy: “The negative is the score, the print is the performance.’

    Having heard Beethoven performed well, and Beethoven performed badly I tend to agree. Adams also bad prints from his best negatives ( but he destroyed them), so what do you think the odds are that some one who isn’t Adams, or who didn’t work with Adams, who didn’t even know Adams, is going to be able to make a print that interprets the negative the way Adams might have?

    It’s the same difference between The Beatles and a Beatles “tribute” band, and it is the same thing with these prints.

    But no doubt Mr. Norsigian will do his level best to make as much money — selling the rights to the story, calendars, a book or two, some prints — as they can from he lucked into and more power to him.

    • @Ellis Vener, You make a good argument. Adams was the pioneer of the Zone System of printing, so yes, the print is the really important part of the process. I’m not sure that there’s no one around who can’t emulate the Zone System on the same level, or close as Adams. Maybe there’s a master printer out there who can come pretty close.

      just my 2 cents worth.

      • @Tim,

        there are still scads of very technically accomplished black and White printers out there. But mere Technical skill isn’t as important as the Adam’s intent: what would he emphasize? Why would he crop one way and not the other? I short what did Ansel Adams , or any other photographer you can think of , want you see in the print.

        Technique is just technique, “vision” is primary.

        • @Ellis Vener, as a once professional black and white printer I’ve never ever seen scads of very technically accomplished printers. There seems to be about 4 good printers in this country. I almost bought a moonrise once and the only reason I wanted it was because there was a finger print developed on to the print. I was wondering if it was Ansel’s or an assistant’s.

    • @Ellis Vener,

      Ellis, I have no doubt that another printer can interpret and print these images at a level equal or surpassing the talent and vision of Adams.

      The most significant part of the *art* lacking will be the subjective. The original author (Adams) did not craft the final representation. In the art world subjective details about process and creation are significant.

  2. I don’t understand it but for some reason the wireless mini keyboard on my new iMac seems to lead to far more typos and word changes (as in ” Let’s assume for a minute that what he found indeed are indeed glass plates negatives exposed and developed by Ansel Adams career.” — I swear I didn’t type the word “career” or make the word “plate” plural — and there is this: “Adams also bad prints from his best negatives ( but he destroyed them)” what happened to the verb “made” between “also” and “bad”? It disappeared into the Apple ozone I guess.)

    Has anyone else had this problem?

  3. I am not even sure if he can sell the prints. A lawyer friend of mine made the following comment on my blog about the controversy: “Ansel has only been gone since ’84, so it wouldn’t be another 54 years (at least) until his works hit the public domain. Assuming that the plate negatives are authentic, Norsigian would still only own the physical objects, not the right to create prints. Ideally, authenticity will be proven and Norsigian will sell the negatives to whomever owns the copyright so that we can all enjoy these photos.”