Great Western Photographers

Twentieth century landscape photography is practically synonymous with the great western photographers Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Both lived in Carmel, California, and did most of their work in the west. Ansel Adams is most strongly associated with grand vistas of Yosemite and the national parks, while Weston did close-ups and nudes as well as landscapes. Weston once said "Everything worth taking a picture of is in California."

I had the privilege of meeting Ansel Adams in the last year of his life. He had a famous New Year's Day open house at his house in Camel Highlands, to which I was invited by virtue of my girlfriend being director of the Carmel Bach Festival. Adams was seated in a big wing chair with a huge print of "Monolith, the north face of Half Dome" behind him, and an Edward Weston seashell study on the wall opposite. I went up and introduced myself to the great man. After exchanging a few pleasantries he turned and beckoned to a tall man behind him. "Meet my friend Wallace Stegner". It was a memorable morning.

Joe Holmes is an old friend, a contemporary of mine. We were both students at Berkeley, and even led Sierra Club trips together. His meticulous technique and attention to detail places him squarely in the Adams tradition, with the major difference that he works in color. A print of his incredible "Sacred datura, Escalante, Utah" hangs in my livingroom.


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Contact Don Bain: dbain@virtualguidebooks.com