Ansel Adams Grandson's Response to Claim Ansel Adams' Photos Found at Garage Sale Worth $200 MillionBY Marc Silber on July 27, 2010
Is it real or is it Memorex? Ah jeeze most readers won’t remember this famous line, so let’s translate: are these glass plates really Ansel’s or is it the same cow crap that he stepped over on his way to capturing one of his images?
I just talked with Matthew Adams, Ansel’s grandson who runs the Ansel Adams Gallery. He’s up to his ears over over this whole fuss and the short answer is, yep it’s the stuff on the bottom of his shoes from the southern end of a bull.
His long answer is quoted below. But stay tuned folks we’re going to be providing video evidence of the points Matthew talks about… meanwhile check out the real McCoy watch our video with Ansel’s son Michael.
I was provided access in November 2009 to the evidence that the “Norsigian Team” had accumulated. No further evidence has been presented, and my comments are based on the information provided at the time and not updated.
Negative Sleeves –
The negative sleeves are manila envelopes with a stamp to organize handwritten information as:
Each sleeve is numbered with a 4 digit number, starting with “8”, and a title in the “Name” field. The title is suggested to be in the hand of Virginia Best Adams, Ansel’s wife (married 1928). The dates of the any glass plate negatives pre-date the marriage, meaning that the sleeves would have been new after 1928. The supposition presented is that the negatives were rescued from Ansel’s darkroom fire of 1937, sleeved and marked at that time. Ansel’s negative numbering system usually referenced glass plate negatives as “GP”. “1-GP-##” would mean 8×10 glass plate image number ##. 1937 is certainly after Ansel started using this negative numbering system, and these examples are inconsistent with that schema.
I am not aware if any carbon dating of the negative sleeves has been done. Presumably it would be possible, and might provide scientific evidence of the date of the sleeves and possibly the date of the marking.
Handwriting – The handwriting of the negative number does not match the handwriting of the title. The handwriting of the titles has been identified by Mr. Norsigian’s team as belonging to Virginia Best Adams. The expert, Michael Nattenburg, used samples from 1927, 1929, and 1950. My opinion, without expertise but familiarity only with her handwriting of a later date, is that it does not belong to Virginia. I have viewed the sample handwriting from the 1920s and subject handwriting, and found differences that I would consider significant.