Ansel Adams at UCSD: A Master Photographer Shoots a Fledgling UC Campus

Geisel Library exhibit of early UCSD photos on display through May 1, 2011

January 26, 2011 – In 1963, celebrated photographer Ansel Adams was commissioned by the University of California to photograph the UC campuses for UC's centennial anniversary in 1968. A selection of the photographs appeared in Fiat Lux, one of the centennial publications produced by the University. Although Adams shot more than 70 images of the San Diego campus, Fiat Lux included only 10 images of UCSD. Now, a selection of Adams' UCSD photos—including iconic shots of the Scripps pier and the breezeway between Bonner and Mayer halls, as well as images of some of UCSD's most distinguished early faculty—can be viewed at a Geisel Library exhibit.

"Ansel Adams at UCSD"—which is presented by UCSD's Mandeville Special Collections Library—is made possible by an arrangement with the UC Riverside Museum of Photography, which holds the negatives of Adams' Fiat Lux photography. After the exhibition—which is being held in celebration of UCSD's 50th anniversary—the photographs will remain part of the library's permanent collection, housed in the Mandeville Special Collections Library.

The exhibit includes Adams' photos of the university's most prominent early faculty members, including Margaret and Geoffrey Burbidge, Walter Munk, John Stewart, and Nobelist Harold Urey. Also included is a photograph of a sea turtle at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and images of popular campus gathering spots such as Revelle Plaza.

Ansel Adams, widely recognized as one of the greatest American photographers of the 20th century, was best known for his black and white photographs of the American West. His masterful photographs of America's national parks, including Yosemite, are defined by their clarity of focus, rich tonal range, and mythic sense of landscape.

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Dolores Davies
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