Ansel Adams and Edward Burtynsky

Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, Calif., 1944.
Photograph by Ansel Adams (Credit: Shelburne Museum)

The Shelburne Museum goes modern! Again. No, not more motorcycles... The museum's fist modern and contemporary photography exhibition, Ansel Adams and Edward Burtynsky: Constructed Landscapes, opened on June 19 and runs until October 24. I haven't had the chance to see it yet, but I'm hoping to within the next couple of weeks. Here's the skinny:

Constructed Landscapes... features over 60 photographs by Ansel Adams (1902-1984), one of the most influential and popular landscape photographers in history and Edward Burtynsky (b. 1955), a contemporary photographer whose images of “manufactured landscapes” such as mines, railway cuts and dams have brought him considerable acclaim in the past decade. The exhibit explores concepts of the natural world, wilderness and how carefully crafted images can lead the viewer to specific conclusions and ultimately shape public perception about land use, natural resources and beauty. Burtynsky and Adams are in stark juxtaposition in Constructed Landscapes. Ansel Adams’ classic and pristine black and white images of undisturbed nature contrast with Burtynsky’s stunning color prints of landscapes altered by man, including quarries in Vermont.

Almost twenty years ago I studied photography in Washington, DC with a protege of Ansel Adams. I'm not sure how much I learned, but I loved the course, and it certainly was impressive to hear that our teacher had apprenticed with and developed for the master. For a couple of years I was fascinated with B&W photography, and gobbled up opportunities to idle afternoons away in a darkroom. Do younger readers even understand that experience? I'm a huge fan of digital photography, but I do miss the magical mood, lighting, sounds and smells of a dark room. Perhaps I'll feel the twinge of nostalgia while enjoying the exhibition at the Shelburne Museum...