gelatin silver print, 38,4 x 47,6 cm / 15,2 x 18,8 inch
The Mount Williamson unfolds in his majesty. Its monumentality and its aura are put forward by two elements of the picture: the rocks in the foreground, and the rays of light in the background. The nearest rocks come to respond to the size of the mountains and thus strengthen their presence. The mountains are exalted by the rays of light that pierce the sky. The viewer easily understands that they are of a different order than the rocks to which photography compares them. However, in this photography, rocks and mountains occupy a similar space. It is possible that Ansel ADAMS wished to signify here that all the elements of nature are of similar importance.
In addition to its formal dimension, this photograph has historical value. In 1944, Ansel ADAMS photographed the internment and relocation of Japanese and Japanese Americans in centers called "War Relocation Camps". One of them, the center of Manzanar, was near Mount Williamson. Ansel ADAMS saw in the beauty of the mountains the means for the prisoners to have a moment of respite despite the extremely harsh conditions. This photograph was subsequently selected, and shot in large format for the occasion, for the famous exhibition "The Family of Men" at MoMA in 1955.
Know more: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/53916