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Region residents can check out a hand-picked selection of work from the artist who's generally considered the greatest photographer of the American West and of National Parks.

South Shore Arts is displaying "Classic Images: Photography by Ansel Adams," which he chose in the last years of his life as a gift for his daughter, Gallery Manager Bridget Earnshaw said.

Previous Director of Exhibitions Laura Cutler first tried to secure the 72-piece exhibit, which was organized by the Peoria Riverfront Museum and has toured the world.

"It was a high priority to get it," Earnshaw said. "We've held a spot for two years, but it's taken awhile. It just got back from Korea."

The exhibit features prints of many of Adams' black-and-white photos of National Parks, especially Yosemite National Park. But it's not just a collection of his best works and it also contains early photographs when he was working on corporate commission, as well as portraits and architectural photos.

"The most noted pieces he's known for are his National Parks," Earnshaw said. "But his other work still shows his love for America. He did beautiful portraits and magazine work. There's a photo of children at a trailer camp during wartime that shows a lot of emotion. Of course the exhibit also features the great American landscapes he's known for, and the big, glorious shots of nature."

Adams was a pioneer who developed a jaw-dropping sharpness where his photos go from extreme white to extreme black, Earnshaw said. He's partly responsible for photography being taken seriously as a major art form.

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His photos are dramatic visually and they've blown gallery visitors away, including those who drop in briefly before going to catch a play, she said.

"People love his work," he said. "They've traveled to these landscapes, seen these parks themselves. Even if they haven't, they can still witness it as gorgeous beauty."

Adams is a big name who has drawn in visitors from all over, including  from Chicago. Attendees from Bloomington and Indianapolis who had seen the recent Adams show at the Eiteljorg Museum in the Circle City said they had never seen so many of his pieces collected in one place.

"It's quite a show for Munster to have," Earnshaw said. "It has a scope of history and art history… Adams was a meticulous experimenter with cameras and sit for hours to find the perfect moment in time. He slept in his car eating beans waiting for that perfect moment, that perfect image."

FYI: The show runs through Jan. 24 at the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts at 1040 Ridge Road. The exhibit is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students and children and free to any members of South Shore Arts.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.