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Art Beat: Photography that's music to your ears

Mike Dunham

If you love fine art photography but hate classical music, the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra has a concert for you. Next Saturday their program will include "Ansel Adams: America," which features Adams' memorable images of mega-scenery projected on a huge screen in Atwood Concert Hall. The photos are accompanied by a music composed by the late Dave Brubeck and his son Chris.

Dave Brubeck, best known for his jazz and piano work, had a long association with Anchorage, starting with the premiere of his oratorio "The Light in the Wilderness" during the Alaska Festival of Music in 1970. Chris, too, has had music presented by the ASO in recent years. The Adams collaboration includes perhaps the last music written by Dave Brubeck, who died last year.

The upcoming piece is not particularly jazzy, however, Chris said in a press release. "It's much more of a neo-romantic piece because Ansel Adams was so deeply into Bach and the great composers." The famed photographer seriously considered becoming a concert pianist before he turned to cameras to make his reputation.

Chris says the combination of music and the giant-size versions of photos that are already considered awesome has a particularly powerful effect, and we're inclined to believe him.

For those who like music as much as photography, the concert will also include Beethoven's "Pastorale" Symphony and Vaughan Williams' Suite for Viola and Orchestra with soloist Anne Gantz Burns. Tickets, $25-$49, are available at

Shoot like Ansel

Ansel Adams took well-known photos all over the world, including Alaska. But one thing he never did even once was use a digital camera to take them. (He died in 1984, when digital photography was largely limited to military and scientific applications; Kodak didn't come up with the first megapixel sensor capable of producing a 5x7 photo-quality print until 1986, and the gizmos didn't reach the consumer market until the 1990s.) He used plates and film, everything from the classic Brownie to 35mm devices. But his most famous shots were taken with a gloriously unwieldy 4x5 view camera with bellows like an accordion, a machine Matthew Brady would have understood. And he developed the negatives by hand, himself.

Darkroom development is now considered out of date, but it has its devotees. One is Dick Wyland of Seldovia. Wyland, seeking to downsize, writes to ask if someone will adopt his photo lab equipment. The setup includes:

Beseler Enlarger with lenses and filters.

Durst M600 Enlarger with 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 Color Filters.

Philips Color Enlarger -- PCS-130 Electronic Tri-one System with electronic Tri-one control unit PCS-150.

JOBO Developer 2840 Tank System 2200 with 2 Drums, Rinse trays and filters.

Micro Sight 3 Negative Enlarger for viewing with grain focusing and 2 adjustable Print Boards.

Various lens filters and other "stuff", books, etc. for the darkroom experience.

Wyland is offering to not only give the shop to an interested party, but to deliver it to a location on the Kenai Peninsula or Anchorage area; he's even willing to bring it to the Mat-Su. Interested photobugs can contact him at 907-234-7462.

A few more photos

The statewide juried photo exhibit "Rarefied Light" is on display at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art, 427 D St., through November.

Soldotna photographer Joe Kashi has a show in the ARC Gallery in the Consortium Library titled "Not Quite Black and White;" Kashi has taken color photos of natural scenes that appear to be Adamish black-and-whites until you look closely. It will be on display through Dec. 13.

Recent photos by Brian Adams featured in his big new book "I Am Alaskan" are featured at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation Gallery, 500 W. Sixth Ave., for the rest of the month.

'Lucia' online

At press time Friday, the plan is to review Anchorage Opera's production of "Lucia di Lammermoor" on opening night and have it elsewhere in today's Daily News. If that hasn't happened, you can find the review online at, where we regularly try to post such critiques in a speedy manner. The final performance will take place at 4 p.m. today in the Discovery Theatre.

Speaking of opera, the live HD big screen broadcast of "Tosca" from the Met will be repeated at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at both Regal and Century cinemas. I've become a fan of this format, even though one occasionally sees things one probably wouldn't attend in person. Last month it was the absurdist Soviet farce "The Nose" by Dmitri Shostakovich. It dates from the composer's early years, when he had a new and different wild idea about every 10 seconds, none of which had much to do with the previous or following ideas; that was before Comrade Stalin persuaded him to consider the benefits of artistic cohesion. Whatever else happens this year it will seem plain and clear compared to this bewildering piece. But after seeing it I find myself paying more attention to people's nasal appendages.

Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.