The Next Ansel Adams Is From Charleston

By Jerry Spencer for Island Eye News

Every 10 years, the National Parks Service hires a photographer to re-shoot the same scenes Ansel Adams shot. Over one thousand artists applied for the job and Frank Lee Ruggles, a former Charlestonian, was hired as the most recent Eminent Photographer.

Ruggles is the only living National Parks Service Eminent Photographer and the only Eminent Photographer who used digital cameras. His tour as an Eminent Photographer was recently completed and he has begun to show his work in special exhibits.

A special showing and sale of his works is at Spencer Galleries, 55 Broad Street, Charleston February 14 through 21. The artist will be present February 14 and 15 for the opening.

Ruggles’ position with the National Parks Service has afforded him endless opportunities to explore and photograph vistas rarely seen or visited in remote areas of the USA. His skills as a professional photographer have allowed him to capture scenes that may never be seen again. Like Adams, all of Ruggles’ photographs are limited to editions of 25, except his unique photograph of the ages old Angel Oak which will be limited to an edition of 100.

He has photographed 160 National Parks and Forests across the United States to create a data base of over 40,000 images for the National Parks Service, and currently lives in Alexandria, VA.

A professional photographer since 1992, Ruggles has performed just about every type of photography a commercial shooter can do. He was a photo services provider for several Federal Agencies in Washington D.C., including the State Department, where he was the exclusive photographic printer for Secretary of State Colin Powell.

He worked for the Treasury, FBI, Commerce and Energy Departments, and did the custom hand printing for the Smithsonian. As a US Army Paratrooper, federal contractor, and government employee, Ruggles has worked for the last five Presidential administrations. He will soon host a major TV network series called The Warrior Artist.

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