Answering the Search for the Next Ansel Adams
Jarob J. Ortiz, large-format staff photographer, Heritage Documentation Programs, National Park Service. In winter 2015, the National Park Service (NPS) advertised a job listing in search of the next Ansel Adams (1902-1984), the landscape photographer known for his 1940s NPS commission to document nature as exemplified and protected in US National Parks. The full-time position with the Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP) required experience with large-format photography, which provides a higher resolution, is more durable than 35mm film, and allows the photographer more control to render perspective. The HDP administers the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), the federal government's oldest preservation program, and its companion programs: the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). Documentation produced through the programs constitutes the nation's largest archive of historical architectural, engineering, and landscape documentation. The HABS/HAER/HALS collection is housed at the Library of Congress. Milwaukee-native Jarob J. Ortiz was selected for the HDP position out of 5,000 applicants. In this presentation held on April 18, 2017, at the National Gallery of Art, Ortiz shares the photographs he has taken while serving in this important role.