Nearby Café Home > Art & Photography > Photocritic International

Team Norsigian Accentuates the Negative (9)

This “buyer beware” warning should instantly raise a red flag for any prospective purchaser, particularly since it appears at a site where otherwise the words “authentication,” “authenticated,” “expert opinion,” and “by Ansel Adams” get sprinkled around like minced parsley on the specials at a yuppie brunch spot. Not to mention an international media environment in which Team Norsigian’s leaders continue to insist on the authenticity claimed. Team Norsigian begins to resemble the medieval “ship of fools”: a transportable dumping ground for those considered one brick shy of a load by their communities. With this disclaimer, they invite others to hop on board. […]

Cowflop from the Adams Herd (3)

By what authority did Ansel Adams come to have Yosemite National Park to himself as a prime marketing location from which he could sell his own prints, books, and workshops for something like five decades — a most-favored-photographer status enjoyed by no other since? And what entitles his descendants, two generations removed, none of them making art, to continue that tradition by running a private for-profit gallery on some of the choicest real estate in the entire national park system, for the express purpose of distributing the Adams family product line and other trade goods? Is this cash cow some exclusive Adams family perk in perpetuity? […]

Team Norsigian Accentuates the Negative (7)

Team Norsigian’s last hope? Authentication of the negatives as made by Adams. In that case, as I’ve proposed, the negatives themselves will have market value as museum-quality artifacts. And the only way to authenticate the negatives is to dump the original Team Norsigian posse (with the possible exceptions of the meteorologist and handwriting experts), bring in a set of recognized and reputable researchers, and head to the CCP in Tucson. If the proof’s anywhere, it’s there. Time for Team Norsigian to learn to make nice with the CCP, instead of haranguing them inappropriately. […]

Team Norsigian Accentuates the Negative (6)

Team Norsigian’s strategy has been haplessly ass-backwards from the git-go. They should have started quietly, with a serious forensic investigation by recognized experts, using the resources at the Center for Creative Photography (where Adams’s archive resides) to verify or disprove Adams’s authorship of the negatives. Based on the results, they could have moved forward to announce Adams’s authorship, if hard evidence justified that. Then they could perhaps have negotiated some agreement about rights licensing with the Adams Trust and Adams Gallery. Instead, they sent in the clowns — a more improbable and implausible cluster of self-styled experts than I could have invented ― for a comedy of errors. […]

Team Norsigian Accentuates the Negative (5)

In pursuing this story I also take into account what we might call the “Inspector Clouseau factor” — the possibility that a bumbling incompetent (or even a busload of shlemiels and shlemozzles) could blunder and stumble into the correct solution to a puzzle. So I’m keeping an open mind on that subject, trying to separate hard evidence from irrelevancy, fact from fiction, and significant clues from red herrings. […]