Ansel Adams’ Lost Lost Angeles Photographs


What’ll You Have?, originally uploaded by Gerard Van der Leun.

Flickr user Gerard Van der Leun may have made an interesting find. According to Van der Leun, while perusing the online library collection of photos at the Los Angeles Public Library he found a collection of outtake photos of Los Angeles that Ansel Adams had given to the Los Angeles Public Library years ago from an assignment he was on to shoot for Fortune Magazine in the early ’40s.

“I like to think of the images, the out-takes, left in the care of the LAPL Photo collection as a kind of casual record of a busman’s holiday for Adams. It would have been a plum assignment to get a job from Fortune in those days and more than worth Adams’ while for the money alone. On the other hand it allowed him to set aside the heavier equipment and take a hike for a couple of days, not among the vast landscapes of America that he was to record and idealize forever, but among the more mundane but still fascinating urban landscape of the “City of the Angels… the fabulous empire of oomph” as the Greatest Generation, men and women, our fathers and mothers, went to war and went to work.”

Van der Leun has an essay written on his find as well as more of the photos and presents his evidence linking the photos to Adams beyond the LAPL at American Digest. The complete collection of photos can be seen online at the Los Angeles Public Library here. More at Flickr Central.

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  1. Van der Leun says:

    Another detail about the connection that wasn’t in either article: I sent the “Cole Weston” shots to the Edward Weston Foundation via its website. Cole Weston’s daughter confirms that it is indeed her father in the shots.