Thomas Ferderbar

Yosemite Valley, 1958
Photograph - Archival Inkjet Print on Epson Premium Luster Paper
27.13 x 34.75 in
SKU: 9860g
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The Yosemite photographs date to 1958 when Ferderbar was a student in Ansel Adams’ workshop at Yosemite National Park in Northern California. The photographer undoubtedly learned and employed Adams’ Zone System in creating this photograph which was “a method of achieving a desired final print through a technical understanding of how the tonal range of an image is the result of choices made in exposure, negative development and printing.” As a result, the Yosemite Valley exhibits a dramatic level of detail from foreground to background. Ferderbar achieves this level of detail by exploiting a wide tonal range in the shot. The resulting work shares characteristics of Adams’ photographs. As David Nye writes of Adams’ photography—which is also true of Ferderbar’s:” [W]hile modern film technology gave him the option of making a great many exposures, he rejected this approach to image-making, and insisted on patiently studying a scene and waiting for the right moment to make an exposure when the light and composition appeared to him ideal. What precisely constituted this ideal? In his crisp photographs, the world seems to be new, untouched, luminous, even Edenic. [The] images, both in the self-consciously old-fashioned manner of their making in their appearance, appealed on the basis of an apparent fidelity to nature, which is to say, a putative fidelity to what the natural world was like before modern civilization intruded.” In this image and its construction, Ferderbar presents a sublime landscape: massive, lush, and pure, and apparently unspoiled by civilization.


Artwork Size: 27.13" x 34.75"
Frame Size: 35.75" x 43.25"


Artist Bio:


"I wanted to become a photographer at the age of 12, when my sister Grace gave me a Kodak Box Brownie camera for Christmas. (I still have that camera.) Since our family was quite poor, I built my first enlarger with an oatmeal box, while that same box camera was used as its lens. In 1947, just after graduation from high school, I had the opportunity to travel to California by car and house trailer with my uncle, aunt and mother, and in the process to shoot my first pictures along Route 66. Then, after graduation from college, a stint in the army followed by photography school, I opened an advertising photography studio in 1954. For over four decades my staff and I earned numerous local, regional and national awards for our achievements in photography, including several "best of show" honors.

In 1958 I studied with renowned landscape photographer Ansel Adams at his Yosemite National Park workshop. In 1980, while still operating my advertising photography studio, I began a serious photographic study of the decaying artifacts along our country's former Mother Road, Route 66. The former national highway route from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California was not a popular subject at the time, and so I filed away my transparencies, not knowing what I might ever do with them. However, as time passed Route 66 did become a topic of national interest, and upon my retirement in 1997, I once again returned to record the Mother Road's artifacts.

A number of my Yosemite series photographs are included in the Ansel and Virginia Adams collection at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona at Tucson, and several of my Route 66 photographs and other subjects have been acquired by the Milwaukee Art Museum. At this time I am preparing a book of my photographic experiences along Route 66, from 1947 to the present."