San Francisco, California, United States of America 1902 – Carmel, California, United States of America 1984
Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico
1941 gelatin silver photograph gelatin silver photograph
printed image 38.6 h x 49.0 w cm
Accession No: NGA 81.3064.31
Adams became the most famous landscape photographer in the world on the back of his images of America’s West. While mass tourism was invading these wilderness areas, Adams’s photographs show only untouched natural splendour. His landscapes are remarkable for their deep, clear space, distinguishable by an uncanny stillness and clarity. The story of Moonrise is legendary: driving through the Chama River Valley toward Española, Adams just managed by a few seconds to catch this fleeting moment before the dying sunlight stopped illuminating the crosses in the graveyard. Through hours of darkroom manipulation and wizardry, Adams created an image of almost mystical unworldliness.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra