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West of CenterArt and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977$
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Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677252

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677252.001.0001

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Naked Pictures: Ansel Adams and the Esalen Institute

Naked Pictures: Ansel Adams and the Esalen Institute

(p.286) Chapter 16 Naked Pictures: Ansel Adams and the Esalen Institute
West of Center

Suzanne Hudson

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the work of photographer Ansel Adams, particularly his pictorial engagement with the landscape. It argues that the context in which to appreciate Adams’s production is neither the modern museum nor the modernist photographic discourse that often justified it, but through the ostensible counterculture recurrently grasped in terms coeval with its most easily satirized iconography (of nudists, stoned musicians, etc.). Adams’s images offer an instance whereby artworks might look nothing like the milieu in which they find their theoretical justification, but are rendered legible through it in a way otherwise obscured. In this case, thinking about Adams together with the Esalen Institute recommends his images as manifestations of sensate connection with the land, itself privileged as the site of, and often the very vehicle for, personal revolution.

Keywords:   photographers, Ansel Adams, Esalen Institute, counterculture

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