Ansel Adams with a large-format camera. | Courtesy of National Park Service
Last week, an interesting job listing on USAJOBS, a website that lists job openings in the federal government, made the rounds on social media. The National Park Service, it turns out, is seeking a photographer to be based in Washington, D.C.
What's odd about the position, which pays up to $99,000 a year, is the type of photography: "large format" — in other words, the old-timey 4x5 and 6x7 view cameras that once were the industry standard. The photographer, the listing says, will be in charge of creating "large-format photographic documentation to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the HABS/HAER/HALS permanent collection at the Library of Congress," among other duties.
Large-format photography isn't completely a thing of the past, but hand-held cameras and, later, digital photography have pushed it to the margins. Still, some of history's greatest photographers were masters of large format.
One of them, of course, was Ansel Adams, a longtime Arizona Highways contributor who also completed many assignments from the Park Service. Some of those photos are collected in Ansel Adams: The National Park Service Photographs, which you can find on Amazon.
If you're a large-format buff and are thinking of applying, you'd better hurry: The application window closes tomorrow.