UA celebrates birthday of photographer Ansel Adams

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J. Malcolm Greany | The Daily Wildcat

A photographic portrait of nature photographer Ansel Adams which first appeared in the 1950 Yosemite Field School yearbook.

Ansel Adams would have turned 115 years old this year. 

His contribution to the world of photography and the UA is so appreciated that the UA’s Center for Creative Photography is hosting a birthday party for the famous photographer.

The Ansel Adams Birthday Celebration will take place at the Center for Creative Photography on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 1-4 p.m. 

The purpose of his 115th birthday celebration is to honor Adams and provide people with a fun way to learn more about the photography legend who left a lasting impact on the UA. 

This will be the first time the CCP is having this celebration for Adams, something they hope to now make an annual tradition. 

The festivities will include a lecture by the chief curator of the Center for Creative Photography, Becky Senf. She will speak about the Adams archive and her favorite pieces. 

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There will be a viewing of Adam’s prints, as well as tours. Cameras, like the ones Adams used to take his photographs, will also be provided by the Western Photographic Historical Society, giving attendees the opportunity to get a glimpse at what it was like for Adams behind the lens. Of course, cake will be included.

Courtesy John Schaefer/The Center for Creative Photography

The Center for Creative Photography's Ansel Adams archive contains 2,500 Adams works.

The CCP’s marketing manager, Gina Compitello-Moore is looking forward to the celebration and the exposure it will give people to Adams and his legacy at the UA. 

He co-founded the center along with former president John Schaefer in 1975. 

Adams also gave the CCP a vast collection of his works, such as photographs, negatives and even notes to keep in a collection. 

Compitello-Moore hopes that once people get through the door they will be eager to learn more about Adams and everything else in the CCP.

“It’s a really great chance to show the community, especially the UA community and students, all that the center has to offer and make sure that everyone feels welcome here,” Compitello-Moore said. 

According to Compitello-Moore, it’s a way to get people interested in the CCP.

“I’m so excited to have an event that’s going to be engaging and fun and to get people through the door to learn about Ansel and his art,” she said. “It’s important for us to celebrate his legacy and his vision for the CCP.”

The CCP also wants people to be involved beyond the birthday event. 

Courtesy Abe Aronow/The Center for Creative Photography

Ansel Adams co-created the Center for Creative Photography in 1975.

Compitello-Moore said that she wants people to share in the celebration by having them send their best “Ansel inspired images” on Instagram with the tag #inspiredbyansel. 

Those who are part of the photography niche at the UA are familiar with Adams’s work and involvement on campus. One person with an appreciation of Adams is John Nofs, the photography facilities coordinator at the School of Art. 

According to Nofs, without Adams there would be no CCP, which he said is the center for everything photography related here at the UA. 

“Without him, we wouldn’t have that asset,” said Nofs. “That’s something that encourages current photographers, like these students here. It encourages them to show up and come here.”

He also appreciates that Adams’ connection to the CCP allows students to partake in exclusive benefits. Especially given Adams’ reputation in the world of photography. 

RELATED: Former UA pres. talks Ansel Adams, creating CCP’s photography archives

“It’s one of the only places in the world where you can go look at one of his prints in person,” Nofs said. 

Photography students, such as senior Kelsey Lang, are part of the group that are acquainted with Adams’s legacy on campus. 

Lang said that much of what she knows about Adams is from classes. She finds the negatives and notes to be an interesting part of the collection. 

She said that being a photography student gives her an advantage to know more about Adams than others because they don’t receive the same exposure she does. 

“Not too many people know, unless you’re a photo kid or if you’ve gone down there and seen the negatives and the pictures that he produces,” Lang said.

With this birthday celebration, the CCP hopes more people learn about Adams. 

According to Compitello-Moore, many people have already seen Adams’ iconic work somewhere without realizing it. The goal is to get people to know and cherish Adams’s legacy here at UA.


Follow Melissa Vasquez on Twitter.

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