America’s most famous photographer Ansel Adams used to say that his negatives were the “score” and that the print was “the performance”. One of such images that truly epitomizes that saying is Moon Over Hernandez, one of Adams’ most famous prints.
In a new video by Marc Silber for Advancing Your Photography, Silber talks with Ansel Adams’ son, Michael, who was with him when Moon Over Hernandez was taken.
Michael is able to provide a stellar comparison of the actual negative that Adams took that day in New Mexico, with the final print that Adams had edited in the darkroom. The differences are stunning and truly show just how much of a genius Ansel Adams was in the darkroom. He was able to take a decent photograph with a good composition — a “score” — and turn it into a work of art with emotion and contrast and story — “the performance”.
Additionally, the video includes previously unreleased footage of Ansel Adams discussing how he came upon the photograph and executed it. It seems as though every time new footage of Ansel Adams discussing his photo-making process surfaces our photographic IQ’s go up exponentially and we fall in love with the man’s work even more.