Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation

Protecting and Preserving All Life -- By Extending Human Vision


Below are some of the comparisons our forensics specialist, Charlotte, has been making between the 3 different views of "Bridal Veil Falls from the Road" which she suspects are 3 different views made in succession - all by Arthur C. Pillsbury, not Earl Brooks and not Ansel Adams.

1: First the photo and article link to the Duncan Gallery showing 3 Earl Brooks photos next to 3 Norsigian prints:

David Curry
The Stentor!

Note:  The Duncan Gallery, located at 6109 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038, is now closed.  They can be reached through

2: Here is the top right image of the Earl Brooks print saved from this Mike Boehm article :

      Earl Brooks was a local boy who spent time in Yosemite and took photographic workshops from Pillsbury while his studio was still in Old Village.  This image appears to have come from the negative collection maintained by Pillsbury of his many years of photographing Yosemite, this work beginning in 1895 at the time of his first visit to the Valley.  At that time, Pillsbury was running two businesses across from the front gate of Stanford University, a photography Studio and a bicycle Shop. He had invented the first specimen slicer for a microscope in late 1895 and purchsed his first movie camera three years prior to that date.  
        He was hired by the Alaskan government to photograph the opening of the mining fields using the panorama camera he designed and built as his senior project at Stanford, where he majored in Mechanical Engineering, in 1897.  
         Pillsbury made the first nature film in his attempt to persuade John Muir, who he knew well, to use film to save the Hetch Hetchy, showing the film at his studio in Yosemite in late 1909.  In 1912, Pillsbury built the first lapse-time camera to show the life cycle of flowers and used this to stop the then common practice of mowing the meadows in the National Parks to produce fodder for horses.  
          In 1911 Muir chose Pillsbury to provide the photos for his last book, The Yosemite. 
          Students in Pillsbury's workshops were allowed to use his negatives, those reserved for this, as part of their instruction in developing.  

 3: This is the best PILLSBURY postcard I could find (so far) to match BOTH the Brooks photo (#2 above) and the Norsigian photo (#4 below) [NOTE: It looks like the PILLSBURY photo/postcard was taken a few yards back up the road - framed by trees (just like the following Norsigian photo #4) ...... BUT - the lighting & Falls are IDENTICAL in all three [see detail close-ups #5 thru #8] ..... I would guess that all three photographs were taken within minutes of each other: First the "Norsigian" photo; then the Pillsbury photo was taken; then the "Brooks" shot was made):  

Early PILLSBURY Postcard No.16 of "Bridal Veil Falls from Road"

[IMPORTANT NOTE: I think the lack of sharp focus in this early PILLSBURY POSTCARD (and BTW - in the "EARL BROOKS" Photo ..... see #5 and #6 below) is in the printing - an early example of "Pictorialism"....... NOT a lack of sharpness in the Pillsbury negative (for another comparison - see #9 below: a later; sharper Pillsbury photo of "Bridal Veil Falls from the Road - Winter") BTW ......  All the NORSIGIAN photos seem to have been printed in the Ansel Adams style of sharper detail & greater contrast ...... The softer focus here is due to the poor resolution of the downloaded NORSIGIAN photos I had to use]

On March 27, 1906
Pillsbury Picture Company was Incorporated.

4: Norsigian Print of "Bridal Veil Falls from Road":

NOTES:  The Pillsbury Post Card, Bridal Veil Falls, Pillsbury Picture Co. No. 16,  dates from before 1910.  Ascertaining the photogr
apher for any specific image can be carried out in multiple ways.  These include:  Human artifacts, which includes roads and the presence of human-created items in view.  The log, which extends into the road in the road was, therefore, on the road before 1910, and likely from 1906 - 1907.

The Pillsbury numbering system is largely chronological.  Pillsbury Picture Company was incorporated.

The Pillsbury Picture Company Catalogue - After Incorporation
March 27, 1906
1 - 1000

No 1. Sentinel Hotel, Yosemite
No. 1. Postcard – BACK Pillsbury’s Pictures Inc. , 219 Powell St. San Francisco 428 South Broadway, Los Angeles, Yosemite Valley, Cal.  Up Kearney Street, Hall of Justice and N.W. corner Berry and 5th Streets     Up Kearney Street, Hall of Justice. Copyright 1906. Pillsbury Picture Co. Another back No. 1.     N.W. corner of Berry and 5th Streets. 

No. 2

No. 3 Yosemite Valley from Inspiration Point (OL) 

No. 4  

No. 5 Valley from Union Point

No. 6 The Black Rabbit (Wawona)(Bridal Veil Falls, have seen image) 

No. 7 Glacier Point (Flag and people at railing) 

No. 8 Cathedral Spires

No. 9 Yosemite Falls
No. 9  Postcard, BACK published by Pillsbury Picture Co., San Francisco and  Oakland. Cal.

No. 10 Yosemite Falls Pillsbury Picture Co.
No. 10  Postcard BACK (Published by The Pillsbury Picture Co., San Francisco and Oakland, Cal. Black ink) postmarked July 18, 1909
Colored view of the Three Brothers reflected in water and tinted. Found in Phoenix AZ by Leroy Harvey.  

No. 11 General Todd Group – Mariposa Grove

No. 12  

No. 13 El Capitan Pillsbury Picture Co.
No. 13  Postcard BACK (Published by The Pillsbury Picture Co., San Francisco and Oakland, Cal. Black ink) postmarked July 18, 1909

No. 14  Yosemite Domes from Rocky Point Pillsbury Picture Co.,
No. 14  Postcard, BACK published by Pillsbury Picture Co., San Francisco and  Oakland. Cal.

No. Y14 (NOTE:  This may be from the earlier Y series, dating from 1901 or 1902 on.  After Incorporation the writing reflected the incorporation.)
No.  Y14 Arch Rock Yosemite
Post card BACK Pillsbury’s Studio Yosemite & 219 Powell St. San Francisco

No. 15  Bridal Veil Falls Postcard, BACK Published by Pillsbury Picture Co., San Francisco and Oakland. Cal.

No. 16. Bridal Veil Falls Pillsbury Picture Co.
No. 16  Postcard BACK Published by Pillsbury Picture Co., San Francisco and Oakland. Cal.

No. 17  Half Dome
No. 17  Postcard, BACK published by Pillsbury Picture Co., San Francisco and Oakland. Cal.
The Norsigian Crisis for the Adams Family

The Adams Family attempted to continue the cover-up necessitated by the emergence of Rick Norsigian's claim the 65 glass negatives he had bought for $45 at a garage sale in Fresno were taken by Ansel Adams.  To distract attention from the proofs provided by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster and Charlotte Kieltyka with dates, copies of the Pillsbury catalogue and forensics, several strategies emerged from the Adams Camp.
One:  Suggest other possibilities which were actually in the area at the time taking one of Pillsbury's photographic workshops.  Innundate the media with franzied claims each of these was 'the one'.​​
Earl Alvin Brooks  - Was born in Fresno, CA in  October 1897 and died March 10, 1978 (80) in Delaware, where he had spent the latter part of his life.  He is reported to have photographed weddings, in Fresno, and historical homes after relocating th the East Coast.  He never publicly claimed the photo he gave his aunt was one he had taken himself.  As a student in Pillsbury's workshops he was free to print from the negatives made available as part of his training.  Examples of his work, Library of Congress
 Harry Clifford Pidgeon (August 31, 1869 – November 4, 1954) was an American sailor, a noted photographer, and was the second person to sail single-handedly around the world (1921-1925), 23 years after Joshua Slocum, a professional sea captain. Pidgeon was the first person to sail a yacht around the world via the Panama Canal and the Cape of Good Hope, the first person to solo-circumnavigate by way of the Panama Canal, and the first person to solo circumnavigate the world twice. On both trips around the world, he sailed a 34-foot yawl named the Islander, which Pidgeon constructed by himself on a beach in Los Angeles. Prior to his first trip, Pidgeon had no prior experience sailing. He accounts for his adventures in his book, Around the World Single-Handed: The Cruise of the "Islander"'' (1932)  See Madden Library for the attempt to attribute to Pidgeon photos taken by Pillsbury of official Park events.

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