©1975 John Sexton
All Rights Reserved
How did you meet Adams?
took a workshop from him a few months after that. That experience
changed my whole approach to photography. At that workshop in
Yosemite in 1973 I decided I wanted to try and see if I could
pursue this for myself, and I'm still trying.
How long did you work for Ansel Adams. Can you tell us a little
bit about that?
In 1979, I received a phone call from Ansel Adams asking me if
I would be willing to consider coming to work for him. I was teaching
photography in Southern California at that point. And I had between
the 1973 experience and 1979, been an assistant at a number of
Ansel's workshops. . Ansel was just about to embark on the major
revisions of his book, The Negative & The Print. And as part of
my activity there, he had indicated he wanted me to work with
him on that and conduct the various technical tests. And so a
few months later I moved from Southern California up to the Monterey
Peninsula where I still live today. It was an experience that
was exceptional. People frequently ask what it was like and it
truly was inspiring. Sometimes during his lifetime, people would
try and put him on a pedestal and that's not where he wanted to
be, but he was really a great individual. He was a very generous
soul and was exceptionally dedicated to the medium of photography.
What else do you remember about Adams?
So much really. He loved the preservation of the planet and he
loved to be around photographers. I mentioned his dedication to
photography; for instance people forget that he, along with Beaumont
Newhall, co-founded the Photography Department at the Museum of
Modern Art. It
was amazing to
watch him in the darkroom at an advanced age, still get excited
when the results were pleasing. He still struggled like we all
do in the darkroom and he struggled behind the camera, and when
he had a success he was beaming.