Ansel Adams didn't invent the idea of the heroic American West, though he was certainly the 20th century's most persuasive photographic interpreter of it.
The grand vistas of pristine wilderness that Adams recorded in his monumental landscapes of rugged mountain ranges and stands of virgin forest are among the most instantly recognizable images in all American art, and they made Adams famous even among people who knew little about photography or art.
If you go Ansel Adams runs through Jan. 27 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. N.W., Washington. Call 202-639-1700 or go to corcoran.org.