Ansel Adams: The National Parks Service Photography

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National Park Service Photographs - The Mural Project

In 1941, Ansel Adams was employed by the U.S. Department of the interior to photograph the National Parks in the Western United States. The photographs would be part of a ‘Mural Project’ for the Interior Department’s new museum in Washington, D.C..
The Interior’s mural project would allow Adams to travel and photograph the National Parks at the government’s expense. Within a year, Adams had completed 225 signed exhibition prints. Unfortunately, the beginning of WWII would put a stop to the project. The negatives were filed away and not presented to the public until they were reproduced in a book in 1989.
The series was taken at Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Kings Canyon, Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Carlsbad Caverns, Glacier, and Zion National Parks; Death Valley, Saguaro, and Canyon de Chelly National Monuments. Other pictures were taken at Boulder Dam; Acoma Pueblo, NM; San Idelfonso, NM; Taos Pueblo, NM; Tuba City, AZ; Walpi, AZ; and Owens Valley, CA. Many of the latter locations show Navajo and Pueblo Indians, their homes and activities.
The Kings Canyon photographs were taken in 1936 when the establishment of the park was being proposed. These prints were added by Adams to the Mural Project. The one photograph of Yosemite was a gift from Adams to the head of the Park Service, Horace Albright, in 1933.

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