In 1941, United States Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes hired Ansel Adams under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior to take a six month road trip across the American West, during which he was to photograph his surroundings. Accompanied by his young son Michael and his friend Cedric Wright, Adams encountered the scene that would soon become his most iconic work while driving through the Chama River valley toward Española, New Mexico in late afternoon, at approximately 4 p.m., on October 31, 1941. The resulting photograph of a brilliant moonrise over a church and cemetery near Hernandez, New Mexico has since become one of the most popular and collected images ever produced. In “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” the serendipity of the scene and Adams’ technical prowess combine to produce a paragon of pure photography.
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