I had the great good fortune this past weekend of acquiring some classic pieces of American photographic art. Sadly, these works have not made into the canon of classic images, so I believe it is my mission to educate the public about these lost treasures.
Most are familiar with the snapshots of Ansel Adams. But what most don’t realize is that he had a twin brother, Cantsel, who was a photographer. Jealous of Cantsel’s superior talent, Ansel often based his work on Cantsel’s ideas.
As we see here in Cantsel’s early work, New Moon Over the Tetons and Snake River, he dramatically captures the essence of a moonless night in one of our National Parks:
Quite obviously, Ansel’s famous The Tetons and Snake River largely (and shamelessly) “borrows” from his brother’s earlier work.
Continuing his artistic exploration of our National Parks, Cantsel recorded the glory of Yosemite’s treasures. His work, Snow Tree, epitomizes this theme. The eponymous tree in the foreground emphasizes the grandeur of El Capitan, just visible through the white-out, behind it.
Some of his less dramatic works show intimate moments of both nature and humanity. The first, Goat Expressions, shares a quiet moment of communion among caprine brethren.
The last, Self-Portrait of the Artist in the Morning, calls to mind the universal angst of waking up without coffee and having to face another day of harnessing one’s creative genius.
I was astounded that these masterpieces remained unsold at the silent auction being held in my neighbor’s garage. It was this knowledgeable neighbor who first introduced me to Cantsel Adams unfulfilled promise as a cornerstone of Americana, and assured me that these hidden gems were an investment for the ages. I would be remiss if I didn’t introduce him to you: my fine, savvy readers.