Center for Creative Photography

The U.S. Postal Service dedicated a commemorative series of 16 stamps celebrating the photography of Ansel Adams, co-founder of the Center for Creative Photography, on May 15 in Yosemite National Park.

University of Arizona Presidential Scholar David Hume Kennerly was on hand for the ceremony. Kennerly and Adams were friends; both photographers’ archives can be found at CCP.  

Kennerly has written about Adams on social media. On Adams’ February birthday on X, Kennerly wrote: He was one of the most delightful people I have known, and his spirit still warms my heart.” And this week Kennerly called the unveiling of the stamp series: “A great day for photography and the environment.”

The Yosemite National Park and its Ansel Adams Gallery hosted the dedication.

“It’s hard to overstate the profound and intertwined relationship between Ansel Adams and Yosemite,” a caption on the Yosemite IG account began. “His striking black-and-white images of Yosemite and the American outdoors quite literally changed the way people viewed our public lands. Not only did Ansel’s images open the door to places inaccessible to many Americans, but they also sparked a wildfire of support for conserving our national treasures, including the monumental impact his photos had on legislation founding Kings Canyon National Park.”

Top row, (l-to-r), “Half Dome, Merced River, Winter, Yosemite National Park, California” (1938); “Oak Tree, Sunset City, Sierra Foothills, California” (1962); “Thundercloud, Ellery Lake, High Sierra, Sierra Nevada, California” (1934); and “Denali and Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, Alaska” (1947).

Row two, (l-to-r), features “The Golden Gate and Bridge from Baker Beach, San Francisco, California” (c.1953); “Road and Fog, Del Monte Forest, Pebble Beach, California” (1964); “Rock and Grass, Moraine Lake, Sequoia National Park, California” (1936); and “Leaves, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington” (c.1942).

Row three, (l-to-r) “Monument Valley, Arizona” (1958); “Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming” (1942); “Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park, California” (1940); and “Mirror Lake, Mount Watkins, Spring, Yosemite National Park, California” (1935).

Bottom row, (l-to-r, “Maroon Bells, near Aspen, Colorado” (1951); “Aspens, Dawn, Autumn, Dolores River Canyon, Colorado” (1937); “Road After Rain, Northern California” (1960); and “Dunes, Oceano, California” (1963).

Ansel Adams’ timeless portraits immortalized on stamps

The USPS Press Release — Today, the Postal Service shined new light on the majestic black-and-white photography of Ansel Adams with stamps celebrating his iconic work. Adams was one of America’s most renowned and influential artists. A dedication ceremony for the stamps was held at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park. News of the stamps is being shared with the hashtag #AnselAdamsStamps.

“As a masterful photographer and dedicated environmentalist, Ansel Adams allowed Americans from all corners of the nation to experience the wonders of our country in vivid detail,” said Daniel Tangherlini, a member of the USPS Board of Governors. “There have been many advances in photographic technology in recent decades, but the clarity and character of an Ansel Adams image is timeless and unsurpassed, just like you see on these stamps unveiled here today.” 

As an artist, Adams sought to imbue each of his black-and-white prints with the power and wonder he felt in the presence of nature. As an activist, he influenced U.S. environmental policy by employing his photographs as lobbying tools. Many of his images of the country’s most beautiful places — including the Yosemite Valley, the Tetons and Denali — became icons of the environmental movement.

Throughout a photographic career spanning seven decades, Adams received praise and recognition for his work. The University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard and Yale universities awarded him honorary doctorates. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York held a retrospective exhibition of his photography in 1974, as did the Museum of Modern Art, in 1979. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter awarded Adams the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Ansel’s passion for his craft, willingness to share his approach and technique, and dedication to both protecting and preserving the environment had a profound influence on how I approached my own journey as a photographer,” said Alan Ross. “It’s wonderful to see Ansel’s artistry and love for natural wonders like Yosemite embodied on U.S. postage stamps.” 

As evidenced by the striking images in this collection, Adams devoted much of his career to the advancement of photography as a fine art. He wrote and photographed extensively for the Sierra Club Bulletin, exhibited his prints at museums across the country, gave lectures on photography’s artistic merit, taught thousands of students in workshops, and helped create the first museum photography department, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

“It’s an incredible honor for Ansel,” said Matthew Adams, his grandson. “It shows that his popularity continues 40 years after he passed. His work resonates across time. He would be excited and honored.”

Derry Noyes, an art director for USPS, designed the stamps using existing photographs. The Postal Service printed 20 million Ansel Adams stamps, which come in panes of 16. The stamps are issued as Forever stamps, which are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1 ounce price.