A New Ansel Adams Exhibit Looks at the Artist’s Work Through Both a Historic and Modern Perspective

February 15, 2019, 1:30 PM UTC
The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984) 1942 Photograph, gelatin silver print *The Lane Collection *© The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984) 1942 Photograph, gelatin silver print *The Lane Collection *© The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Ansel Adams | Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The work of renowned photographer Ansel Adams is back in the spotlight, thanks to a 200-piece exhibition organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Adams helped shape environmental photography as we know it today by capturing beautiful landscapes that were commended for both their artistic imagery and for environmental activism. The Boston exhibit, “Ansel Adams In Our Time,” offers a fresh perspective on environmental photography with Adams’ photographs curated alongside those by his predecessors and today’s artists.

Adams’ photographs have carried a message of advocacy—a characteristic that has persisted with contemporary artists. Whichever medium they’ve chosen, the pieces call attention to the passage of time and changing nature of the landscapes, especially in the face of global warming.

His photographs of natural landmarks in the American Southwest such as Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and the Grand Canyon in the 1930s played a critical role in the history of the parks and ultimately helped convince government officials to take action and preserve the land. The Grand Canyon celebrates its 100th anniversary later this month. Adams’ photographs spread his belief in the transformative power of national parks to a wide audience. The pioneer defined the genre and kickstarted environmental activism through art.

The exhibit is on view through Feb. 24. Check out the gallery above to see a glimpse inside.