Fresno Man Claims to Own Lost Works of Ansel Adams

October 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Fresno man believes he has stumbled upon the lost works of legendary photographer Ansel Adams, who died in 1984.The majesty of Yosemite lives forever in the iconic photographs of Ansel Adams.

Rick Norsigian of Fresno believes the glass negatives he owns hold some of Adams' early work from the 1920's. Norsigian said, "Oh yes. Yes. There's not a doubt now."

An old wooden box contained 61 negatives when Norsigian bought it at a garage sale in 2000. He collects antiques. The black and white prints were taken in San Francisco, Morro Bay and Yosemite.

Norsigian noted the similarities between Ansel Adams' famous "Jeffery pine" and a picture printed from one of his negatives.

Norsigian claims, "I have a meteorologist who says one of my pictures and one of Ansel's pictures were taken the same day."

Entertainment attorney Arnold Peter said the analysis was "based on the cloud formations, based on the snowdrift." Peter said he assembled a group of experts to look over the prints. Peter said, "There are various elements that have convinced us these are Ansel Adams works. We have hand-writing that has been authenticated to be the handwriting of Virginia Adams, Ansel Adams' wife."

But Ansel Adams' family isn't convinced. His grandson Matthew told Action News "It is irresponsible" to say these photos are the work of Adams.

Even without the family's blessing, Norsigian says a national tour is planned to show the photos. He explained, "There's a lot of Ansel Adams fans out there so I'd just like to let them look."

Arnold Peter said, "You can see some of the techniques Ansel Adams later perfected." Peter says it would be an educational and not a commercial venture.

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