Souza, who wrote the foreword for Adams’ new book “Ansel Adams’ Yosemite: The Special Edition Prints,” out Tuesday, told USA TODAY a trip to Yosemite National Park led him to “make believe” he was Adams.
“Never in my imagination would I ever have imagined that someday I would be writing a foreword to an Ansel Adams book,” Souza says. “He’s a giant.”
Adams is known for his black-and-white landscape photography and as an environmentalist.
“He went back every year of his life thereafter. He met his wife-to-be in Yosemite in 1921,” Michael Adams says. “He lived there off and on, part time and full time for many of those years. He enjoyed all of the seasons in Yosemite, and it was ‘home’ for many years.”
While Souza never met Adams, he wrote in the forward foreword that he and his friends became obsessed with Adams’ craftsmanship and precision. They tried their best to emulate his framing and composition.
This particular sequence of photos has never been published in book form until now.
“He would be thrilled to have all of his special edition prints both formally recognized and all published in one book,” Alan Ross, Adams’ darkroom assistant, told USA TODAY.
According to the book jacket, Adams initially selected eight photographs in the late 1950s of Yosemite to offer to park visitors as affordable souvenirs to inspire others to have a respect for nature that he felt himself.
He continued adding to that collection over the decades.
“It’s a little overwhelming because Ansel spent so much time there and was there for different seasons and the light was right, and I was there for two days,” Souza says.
While there, he used his digital camera on a black-and-white setting while hiking with the Obamas.
“So I could make believe I was Ansel Adams,” Souza says.
Follow Morgan Hines on Twitter: @MorganEmHines.