It’s not an overstatement to say that Ansel Adams is one of the best-known photographers in the world thanks to his now-iconic images of the West — Yosemite National Park in particular. Born and raised in San Francisco, Adams intended to follow a career as a musician — he had studied the piano from a young age — but a 1916 trip to Yosemite National Park with his family changed the course of his life. The 14-year-old was enamored of Yosemite’s majesty, writing of his experience: “The splendor of Yosemite burst upon us and it was glorious …. One wonder after another descended upon us …. A new era began for me.” With a Kodak Brownie box camera his father had given him, Adams took his first photos of the landscape that he would one day become famous for capturing.
In 1979, Adams put together a series for posterity called The Museum Set, available for public purchase under the condition that the set would eventually be donated to an art or educational institution. Culled from thousands of negatives shot between the early 1920s and late 1960s, each set comprised 10 of Adams’s most famous images, such as “Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park.” Buyers could then select additional images from a predetermined list, thus making each set unique.
In 2003, Montecito residents Don and Susan Fuhrer bought a Museum Set, which they recently donated to the Yosemite Conservancy. “I’ve always felt a Museum Set belonged in Yosemite given Adams’s love for the park,” Don Fuhrer said, explaining why they donated their collection to the park’s conservancy. “There’s an entire generation that is unaware of Adams, a true American icon, that will now be able to see his work as he wanted it presented.”
Folks can view the Fuhrer collection, which also includes “Bridalveil Fall,” “El Capitan Falls,” and “Sequoia Gigantea Roots,” at the Yosemite Museum through November 25. See yosemiteconservancy.org.