PR Release: Frank Ruggles to Partner to Follow the Steps of Ansel Adams in the 79 Year Project

Frank Lee Ruggles
Frank Lee Ruggles
RICHMOND, Va. - June 25, 2019 - PRLog -- For Release Time

Frank Ruggles to Follow the Steps of Ansel Adams in the 79 Year Project

Richmond, VA — 06/25/2019 — Former National Parks Eminent Photographer Frank Lee Ruggles is announcing that he has recently kicked off the research phase of his most ambitious photography project to date. In association with the National Park Trust and Ricoh-Pentax USA, Frank will embark on an 18-month expedition to locate the exact locations where legendary photographer Ansel Adams photographed his iconic 150 official-image portfolios for the National Parks in 1941–42.

         Once he has located the exact spot where each of the 150 photographs was captured, Frank will then re-shoot each image, shot-for-shot on the 79th anniversary of the day each was captured by Adams, beginning on October of 2020. 79 years being the average life-span of an American, the comparison of these two sets of images will reveal the environmental changes in the National Parks over the course of one American lifetime in a way never before attempted. To best make an apples-to-apples comparison, Ruggles will be using a Deardorff 8x10 inch black-and-white film camera similar to the exact model Adams used a lifetime ago.

         Back in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, Frank will hand-process each negative and print it on traditional fiber-based silver gelatin photo paper. Copies of every photograph will be donated to the National Park Service's Historic Image collection and a copy of each will also be made available to the National archives, where the original Ansel Adams photographs are permanently stored. An additional set of images will be on tour throughout the US at National Parks and Galleries from coast to coast. A coffee-table book featuring the results of the expedition will be released in 2021.

         79 years ago, Master Photographer Ansel Adams was hired by the Department of the Interior Secretary Harold Ickes to photograph the National Parks with his 8x10 black and white film camera. In all he captured about 150 images of the Parks, however due to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the US becoming involved in World War II, funding for The Mural Project was pulled and Adams' efforts were cut short.

Decades later, Ruggles was hired by the National Park Service for the Digital Imaging Project to go photograph America's treasures. As he traveled the country he began to recognize some of the locations of Adams' famous photographs, but at many of the locations, Frank noted some extreme and surprising environmental changes. This was the inspiration for the 79 Years Project which will capture on film what Frank has been observing for the last three decades in our National Parks.

         Frank's career started as a U.S. Army Paratrooper for several years before serving in the Virginia Guard as a Military Police Officer. He then pivoted to a completely new career field as a photographer, following in the footsteps of his Artistic Hero, Ansel Adams. Like Adams, Frank served as a one of the select few National Parks Official Photographers from 2007–2011; a position only held by a handful of people in the Park Service's 100-year history.

In all, Ruggles has had the honor of serving the last five Presidential Administrations as a soldier, Federal Contractor and Federal Employee, but he doesn't feel like he's done serving yet. His goal is to use this project and its images to inspire a new generation of National Park fans and environmentalist. He feels like his continued conservation efforts are simply an extension of the service to his country he began in 1985.

         At the conclusion of the 79 Years project, we will be able to look at the amazing time capsule that Adams left for us; a beautiful, consistent portfolio of 14 National Parks, taken by one photographer. We can then compare those images to Frank's 2020–21 series of photographs which will show just how much environmental change has affected our parks.

Ruggles says of his project;

"Folks might argue over the scientific data about climate change, but when people see these images, I suspect they will believe their own eyes (and hopefully join in the efforts to save our natural world.) I know that no single project can save the National Parks, but through this project, I will be able to offer a new way to see how our environment has changed. Not over an unimaginable 200 years, but over a single human lifetime… and if enough people are inspired, together, maybe we can move the needle towards a brighter environmental future."

For more information, visit to see some of Adams' public domain work from 1941 and Frank's recent works as well.

For more information, press only:

PR Contact: Mark Vetrini

Phone Number 732–567–6141


For more information on Project and Frank's work, please visit the following websites and check out our daily updates at Instagram.

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