Ansel Adams’ View Camera is Up for Auction

Ansel Adams’ Arca-Swiss 4.5 View Camera

This is the only one of the view cameras used by Ansel Adams that has come up for auction. He used this camera from 1964 to 1968. The auction outfit includes includes three lenses, extra bag bellows, a compendium lens hood, Wratten gelatin filters, a dark cloth, tripod, and carrying case.

Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas is handling the auction. Because this camera was used by Ansel Adams the value is estimated at $70,000 – $100,000 but it wouldn’t surprise me if if goes for more.

“Arches, North Court, Mission San Xavier del Bac”, Tucson, Arizona, 1968.  Ansel Adams.

Adams used this camera in 1968 to create “Arches, North Court, Mission San Xavier del Bac”, one of his classic images. This photo is one of my favorites. The process of creating the image (and the camera) are mentioned in Adams’ book, Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs, pages 107-111. This is one of my favorite photography books. It is highly recommended if you want to develop your artistic vision (even if you shoot digitally), and it is an essential read of you shoot film with a view camera.

I would love to go to Tucson and drop my tripod in the exact same spot where Ansel put his tripod and take the same image. Unfortunately, even if the light was exactly the same, that isn’t possible with my camera and lenses. You have to have the swings, tilts, and shifts of a view camera to take this exact image. Created in 1968, Ansel’s incredible physical energy and creative drive were beginning to ebb. This is one of the last of his truly great images. The PBS video linked below is an excellent introduction to Adams’ life and work.

Ansel Adams


Auction article at Outdoor Photographer

Auction Site – bidding information

Ansel Adams, Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs (book)

Ansel Adams: American Experience – PBS video on DVD