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Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar Unveils New Ansel Adams Murals

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior

I recently unveiled a series of magnificent murals that highlights the legacy of two of the greatest figures in U.S. Department of the Interior’s history, Secretary Harold Ickes and renowned photographer Ansel Adams. The murals represent 26 of the photos Ickes commissioned Adams to produce as part of the Department’s Mural Project of 1941.

On display in the main hallways of the first and second floors of the main Interior building, these stunning black-and-white photos convey the beauty Adams’ saw in our Department’s diverse mission, and include: a pair of Native American children; the eruption of Old Faithful; and the intricate network of power lines at Boulder Dam.

Ickes and Adams first met in 1936, while attending a conference on the future of national and state parks. Ickes was secretary of the Interior under President Franklin Roosevelt; Adams, a renowned photographer and president of the Sierra Club. The two immediately found a common bond in a deep love for the beauty of our nation’s land and a desire to see it conserve that land for future generations.

At San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico, 1942 (National Archives no. 79-AAP-04 Ansel Adams)

In fact, Adams used his photographic talent to lead a successful campaign to save the Kings River area of the Sierra Nevada and have Congress designate it as Kings Canyon National Park.

Ickes believed that the Interior building, which was completed in 1936, should be symbolic of the Department’s mission to manage and conserve our nation’s vast resources. So in 1941, he hired Adams to create a photographic mural for display in this building that reflected the Department’s mission: the beautiful land, the proper stewardship of our resources, and the people we serve.

The attack on Pearl Harbor and our nation’s entry into World War II brought the project to a halt. The more than 200 photographs that Adams took have been stored in the National Archives, but never printed or hung as murals.

Now, with our installation of the murals, we are able to share with visitors from across the nation Ickes and Adams’ timeless vision for this Department — and how we are in the business of fulfilling that vision today.

Note: Simply click on the photos to enlarge

Kearsage Pinnacles, Kings River Canyon California (National Archives no. 79-AAH-7 Ansel Adams)

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Filed under Art, Artists, Environment, Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar (Sec of Interior)

TV Review: ‘The National Parks: America’s Best Idea’ Ken Burns Goes Camping, and Has Photos

Posted by Buellboy and Audiegrl

Horace Albright, then Yellowstone’s superintendent, dining with friends in 1922 in an image from Ken Burns’s series, “The National Parks,” which begins on Sunday on PBS.

Horace Albright, then Yellowstone’s superintendent, dining with friends in 1922 in an image from Ken Burns’s series, “The National Parks,” which begins on Sunday on PBS.


New York Times/Mike Hale—Ken Burns’s new opus for public television, a six-night history of America’s national parks, contains quite a bit of contemporary footage — more than we’re accustomed to from the maker of “The Civil War” and “Jazz.” Along with the usual archival photographs and blurry home movies, there are frequent high-definition color views of the majestic scenery in parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia and Denali.

An interesting thing about those images, though: there are no people in them. Also no roads, parking lots, metal railings or refreshment stands. Bears gambol, clouds rush by, but it’s not until the last 10 minutes of this 12-hour documentary that we see contemporary people in the parks (though there are people in the archival images). And then they’re in fast motion, like Keystone Kops capering down the paths, or like those clouds scudding over the Grand Canyon.

There could be thematic reasons for this. One of the central conflicts traced in the film is between the notions of preserving wilderness untouched and preserving it for the recreation and education of as many people as possible. Mr. Burns may be casting a silent vote with his lonely vistas.

But they also reflect a central feature of the Ken Burns aesthetic. Not that he doesn’t like people, exactly. He just doesn’t like mess. Visually and intellectually, he likes order: clear compositions, clear stories, clear heroes and villains. He doesn’t like clutter, and he doesn’t like surprises. (He never met a twist of history that he couldn’t heavily foreshadow a half-hour earlier.)

More @ New York Times

Watch the Video Excerpt: The National Parks, Americas Best Idea Coming
Ken Burns’s latest documentary begins on PBS on Sept. 27.

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Filed under Culture, History, Media and Entertainment, TV Shows, Uncategorized