The Golden Gate (before construction of the bridge)

Description (Brief)
Silver gelatin, mounted.
One morning in 1932, Adams awoke to a sky filled with fast moving, rolling clouds, and took his 8” x 10” camera to the sea cliffs of the Golden Gate to capture the scene. Frustrated by the constantly changing composition and high winds, Adams nevertheless took a 1/25 second exposure with remarkable clarity and sharp focus. In his book “Examples,” Adams recalls that a photographer once protested that this photograph was “too pretty” to show the real Golden Gate, but the image’s continuing popularity proves the relevance of Adams’ vision (p.21). The view of the Golden Gate at the entrance of the Bay of San Francisco would change with the construction of the bridge beginning in 1933.
Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is one of the most well-known twentieth century photographers. His contributions to the field of photography include his innovation and teaching of the Zone System. The quality of his photographs set the standard by which many straight photographs are judged.
The collection in the Photographic History Collection consists of twenty-five photographs, all printed in or about 1968. All are gelatin silver, mounted, labeled and signed in ink by the photographer. The photographs include some of his most well-known images, but also portraits and objects. The selection of images was made in collaboration between the collecting curator and Adams.
Object Name
Object Type
negative made
print made
Adams, Ansel
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 10 in x 13 in; 25.4 cm x 33.02 cm
place made
United States: California, San Francisco
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Photo History Collection
Ansel Adams Collection
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Photo History Collection
Ansel Adams Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Reproduction rights held by the Center for Creative Photography--ARIZONA

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