Fragile Waters takes its viewers from the snowmelt in the high Sierras to a vantage point deep below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The traveling exhibit, on display at the Massillon Museum from June 7 through Sept. 14, features 117 black-and-white photographs by Ansel Adams, Ernest H. Brooks II and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly. "We hope it will raise the consciousness of how important water is," says Michael Adams. As the son of Ansel and husband of Fragile Waters curator Jeanne Falk Adams, he will give a lecture July 26 at the Lincoln Theatre, where he will talk about his father's early life in Yosemite National Park and Sierra Nevada. We talked to Adams about his father's career, legacy and growing up with one of the most prolific photographers of all time.
On his childhood with Ansel: "I grew up in Yosemite, and he took me on early pack trips into the back country. My first trip we went to the Southwest and many national parks. It was also the trip he took probably his most famous picture, Moonrise Hernandez, New Mexico. It was a dramatic photograph he took in the fall of 1941."
On Ansel's career switch: "He was originally training to be a concert pianist. In 1927, he and my mother ... and several others climbed the mountain of Half Dome, a very prominent mountain in Yosemite. He took a photograph, then he realized ... what he actually wanted. This was sort of the photograph that changed him from the piano as a career to maybe there was something in photography."
On his father's legacy: "As time went on, photography became his field. Before World War II, he was quite involved in photographing many of our national parks and monuments around the country. So he became more widely known for his photographs of our national parks and monuments."