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Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

Arguably America’s most famous photographer, Ansel Adams was also an ardent environmentalist. He served on the board of directors for the Sierra Club for thirty-seven years and was active in the Wilderness Society. Adams used his dramatic black-and-white photographs to encourage the preservation of America’s natural wonders—particularly the majestic rock formations of Yosemite Valley. Employing his famed “zone system,” in order to achieve the wide range of tonal values, Adams created modern images with a romantic sensibility. This iconic image’s large-scale format and the inclusion of the moon—suggestive of a spiritual force in nature—recall earlier views of Yosemite by nineteenth-century photographers like Carleton Watkins, while its stark formalism, strong contrast, and sharp focus align it with the West Coast Photographic Movement.

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection includes numerous other images of Yosemite National Park by Adams, including nine from Portfolio Three: Yosemite Valley (Eskenazi Museum of Art 200. X1.1–.2, .6, .8–.11, .14, and. 16).

Ansel Adams
American, 1902–1984
Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
1960
Gelatin silver print
Image/sheet: 19 x 14 1/2 in. (48.2 x 36.8 cm); mount: 28 x 22 in. (71.1 x 55.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 76.65.5

Large image not available.