Monday, February 20, 2012

Ansel Adams Coffee Can

Ansel Adams' 110th Birthday Today.

Young Ansel was dismissed from several private schools for his restlessness and inattentiveness, his father decided to pull him out of school in 1915, at the age of 12. Totally ADHD before they even had a label for it, he blew up like no photographer ever before.

Embracing art and commerce like the best of us, AA licensed an image to Hill Brothers Coffee to be reproduced on a coffee can! Genius!

I have had mixed emotions about AA's work over the years. Loved it, hated it, made fun of it, and then stood in awe of it once again. Like anything that is popular and complex, there are going to be a full range of emotions. But today, his birthday, I want to celebrate the Hills Brother's Coffee Can, seen above, with reproduced Winter Morning, Yosemite Valley, California, 1969 on the can itself.

And then this quote from Ansel, about his Imogen Cunningham's accusations of him being a sellout:

"In any case, I know she disapproved of that Hills Brothers coffee can that came out about 1968 - the one with one of my Yosemite snow scenes on it. She made that very clear. She sent me one of the cans with a marijuana plant growing in it! And then there was the television commercial I did for Datsun. For every test-drive a potential customer took, Datsun would have a seedling planted by the U.S. Forest Service. I thought it was a pretty good idea to get some trees planted, and if you have to have cars, at least Datsuns get good mileage. But Imogen didn't see it that way."

Who knew the history of photography could be so awesome...?


Barbara Levine said...

Great photo object! Thank you! barbara levine,

Anonymous said...

Yeah On you Ansel!

Unknown said...

Great find. That's how Ansel became photography's one and only household name. Was Hills Brothers a SF brand? Would almost make sense..

Gerry Gomez said...

Thanks for sharing this!

bird. said...

This is classic. A little late to the party, but... A close friend and mentor of mine worked with Ansel, and had prints for sale in his gallery for years. Everyday at 5 o'clock Ansel would ride a giant tricycle around and drink a Martini-- no shit-- but is it really any surprise? You know he grew that seedling in that can from Imogen, and smoked it. They all did. We called it Art. Today we call it a felony.


Famous Photographers said...

Ansel Adams is definitely one of the best photographers of all time.