A claim that $45 worth of negatives found at a garage sale are long-lost Ansel Adams photographs was characterized as a scam this week by the artist's trust, which is suing the discoverer, Rick Norsigian, and PRS Media Partners, a firm that has apparently been selling prints of the negatives online. The announcement of the find was made last month in Beverly Hills.
The suit by the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust claims trademark infringement and more and seeks to stop the use of Adams' name and allegedly fake images by the defendants. (Reuters, Beverly Hills Courier).
“I'm sure Ansel never would've imagined a scam on this scale,” Bill Turnage, the trust's managing director, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I never thought it would come to this, but we have to try to do our duty to protect his work and reputation.”
The Trust disputes Norsigian's claims that experts had verified the work as Ansel's and that the Trust was cooperating with further verification.
When the man announced last month that he had purchased 65 negatives at a garage sale 10 years ago and only recently had them verified as Adams' it caused a sensation.
But the Trust, in various reports, argues that the negatives were actually shot by another photographer, Earl Brooks, and that one of the shots appears to match one belonging to that man's niece.
The gallery David W. Streets Beverly Hills was scheduled to have a showing of the purported Adams' negatives Sept. 25. It's not clear if the show will go on despite the suit.