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Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams May 8, 2012  |  By Tammy Christel

Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams shared a life long friendship. As artists with deep affinities for nature, they believed that embracing wilderness was salve and inspiration for the human soul.

For O’Keeffe, the Southwest was a spiritual home and her ultimate muse; for Adams, it was Yosemite National Park and the Sierras. Together, Adams and O’Keeffe visited Yosemite in 1938. Maybe, as Adams’ son has said, no artist saw Yosemite as clearly as Ansel Adams. The photographer’s large format camera imbued his prints with remarkable clarity, texture and depth of field.

In 1931, in response to Adams’ first solo exhibition of his High Sierra images at the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington Post wrote: “His photographs are like portraits of the giant peaks, which seem to be inhabited by mythical gods.”

The tree sheltering O’Keeffe may be deceased, but its fibrous, dense bark and spreading base flow into the earth, anchoring it. This monolithic trunk is an earthly power source, and O’Keeffe seems fused to its skin. She is as rooted in the ground as the mighty redwood.

This post was written by Guest Blogger, Tammy Christel of the Jackson Hole Art Blog

Image Credit: Ansel Adams (United States, 1902 – 1984), Untitled (Georgia O’Keeffe and Tree), 1938. Black and White Silver Gelatin Photograph. 7 1/8 x 4 3/8 inches. Gift of the Sarah S. McAlpin Family, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Estate of Ansel Adams

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