FRIDAY HARBOR, WASH. - Everywhere you turn in the San Juans you see water. You hear water. You're surrounded by it.
"Because we are a community out here that is nothing without water. Everyone comes out here, they want to be on their boats, they want to see the whales, they want to go fishing, they want to do any number of things that always have to do with water,” said Ian Boyden, Executive Director of San Juan Islands Museum of Art.
Right now, you'll even find water indoors, at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
"Fragile Waters is an exhibition that advocates for water, worldwide,” added Boyden.
The museum recently opened Fragile Waters -- a collection of black and white photographs by world renowned photographers Ernest H. Brooks, Dorothy Kerper Monnelly, and Ansel Adams.
"I was his camera bearer on some of these trips; a free camera bearer didn't cost too much,” laughed Michael Adams, the son of the late Ansel Adams, the photographer who created some of the world’s best known images of the American West. Michael Adams visited the San Juans to speak at the exhibit’s opening, about his father’s regard for, and impact on, environmental conservation.
He says seeing these images is like looking at a family photo album.
"They are. And you know I grew up in Yosemite. I was born in Yosemite, I grew up there, these are all very familiar scenes,” he said. "So it's like coming home."
Adding to that feeling: his wife, Jeanne Falk-Adams, curates 'Fragile Waters'.
"And this whole thing is about connecting people to water through beauty,” said Jeanne Falk-Adams.
Some of Ansel Adams' very first photos are of water -- two tiny shots he took as a teenager are here:
Helmet Rock, Diamond Cascade, his first impressionistic photo.
"Ansel made photographs. He didn't take them. He created something, and that was very special. So this is a really valuable important image,” said Jeanne Adams.
The other photographers whose work is in Fragile Waters visited the San Juan Islands for the opening, and were captivated by what they found here:
"It's my first time here, and I love it!” said Dorothy Kerper Monnelly as she took in the scenery of one of San Juan Island’s most scenic areas, Cattle Point.
"You live in the most beautiful place in the world, surrounded by water,” declared Ernest K. Brooks, famed underwater photographer.
All three of these photographers hope their work will inspire people to see that the water surrounding the San Juans, and gracing the rest of the world with beauty are indeed fragile.
For more information about Fragile Waters and the San Juan Islands Museum of Art go to www.visitsanjuans.com
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