Yesterday I went to the Ansel Adams exhibition at Edinburgh's City Art Centre. It was like stepping into a time machine, seeing so many photos of Yosemite in California, which I had visited on a family holiday, when I was very young.
The photos in this exhibition are all in black and white which adds to the sense of travelling back in time and also seems to add to the grandeur of the scenery. The landscapes are stunning,mostly from Yosemite but also from other areas of the USA. Adams seemed always to capture moments of wonderfully beautiful light or spectacular storms, the rising moon or the eclipsed sun. The rivers almost leap out of his photos. As well as landscapes there are a lot of almost abstract photos of trees, where the texture of the bark or the shape of the branches becomes the focus of the photo. Other photos feature parts of machinery or buildings. But it is the photos of landscapes and trees that are most magnificent and also demonstrate Adams' keen interest in the environment, for which he was a tireless campaigner.
Showing with this exhibition was a small exhibition of the black and white landscape photography of Lindsay Robertson, a Scottish photographer. His photos are stunning too. I really like how he had taken photos of some of the same areas in the USA as had Adams (showing the same view from different points in time). Sometimes his photos are in reply to Adams, for instance whereas Adams had taken a photo of the Golden Gate in San Francisco before the building of the famous bridge, Robertson had taken a photo of the Sound of Sleat before the Skye Road bridge had been built. In these cases, it is interesting to go back in time to see the landscape unspoiled by the bridges, though both bridges are themselves beautiful. It was interesting too how in Robertson's exhibition photos of the USA were displayed next to photos of Scotland. Our scenery may be on a much smaller scale, but its just as spectacular in its own way.
Ansel Adams: Celebration of Genius and The Landscape Photography of Lindsay Robertson
until 19 April at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh
Time Machine for Sunday Scribblings