Aspens, New Mexico

image for Aspens, New Mexico
Description (Brief)
Silver gelatin, mounted. Vertical view of Aspen tree trunks. One well lit, center focus, numerous others behind and spread out. Grass and folliage in background and ground. Signed, ink (Recto: bottom right). Verso: Adams stamp, handwritten title.
One of two photographs made within an hour of each other in Autumn 1958 in New Mexico, this image of a stand of aspens focuses on the long and slightly crooked trunks of the trees. Adams draws the viewer’s attention to their brilliant white bark. In contrast to the dark forest behind, they appear icy, or in the photographer’s words, “cool and aloof and rather stately” (“Examples,” p. 62). The light was diffused and reflected from distant clouds, and yet Adams developed the film for the highlights, increasing the contrast so that the trees would stand in stark contrast.
Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is one of the most well-known twentieth century photographers. His contributions to the field of photography include his innovation and teaching of the Zone System. The quality of his photographs set the standard by which many straight photographs are judged.
The collection in the Photographic History Collection consists of twenty-five photographs, all printed in or about 1968. All are gelatin silver, mounted, labeled and signed in ink by the photographer. The photographs include some of his most well-known images, but also portraits and objects. The selection of images was made in collaboration between the collecting curator and Adams.
Currently not on view
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Work and Industry: Photographic History
Photo History Collection
Ansel Adams Collection
ca 1968
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Adams, Ansel
place made
United States: New Mexico
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
image: 13 1/2 in x 10 in; 34.29 cm x 25.4 cm
mount: 18 in x 14 in; 45.72 cm x 35.56 cm
National Museum of American History
Object Name
Object Type