Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Ansel Saga: Another Contender

One of the Norsigian images
 The story of those "lost" glass-plate negatives supposedly made by Ansel Adams in the 1920s has a new plot development. The plates, discovered by  school painter Rick Norsigian at a garage sale, were valued by a Beverly Hills art dealer with a dubious background at $200 million. But the Ansel Adams Publishing Trust said they were not made by Adams. Then a nice old lady said her uncle, Earl Brooks, had taken the pictures. Today the New York Times reports that another lady has come forward, claiming the negatives were made by her grandfather.

The woman, Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, says the Norsigian images look a lot like images made by Arthur C. Pillsbury, a noted photographer of the period. The good this about this story is that I'm learning about some notable people I've never heard of.

It also seems that the Brooks claim has had a boost in recent days: Uncle Earl's grandson released Brooks's 600-plus page memoir and some old photo albums, one of which has an image "that matches," as the Times put it, an image that Norsigian claimed as an Adams.

I would say this: If you know that one of our great uncles, grandfathers, or sundry relatives visited Yosemite in the 1920s, and carried a camera, it wouldn't hurt to try to find their pictures. Maybe you're sitting on a fortune. Or maybe not.

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