NEWS   ·  July 29, 2014

A Collector’s Story

A week away from a premier Museum of Photographic Arts event, dedicated MOPA Trustee Richard Opper shared his most memorable collector’s story. He is moderating the event, Collecting Photography 101, which will inform guests how to start their own photography collections while enjoying a fun evening out.

Initially drawn to photography in junior high school because of its intersection between the worlds of art and science, I ended up discovering the Ansel Adams’ “Basic Photo Series” and working through each of the books using the school’s darkroom.

When I turned 16, I bought a motorcycle and used it to go to Yosemite on the weekends where I discovered Ansel doing workshops and seminars. He was friendly and engaging, and I naturally gushed over the importance I placed on his “Basic Photo” series. I bought some “Special Edition” photos from him, contact prints that he initialed, and got on his mailing list.

In 1975, I got a letter from Ansel, advising me that he was offering one last time to sell any of his prints for $500. Ann and I (we met in law school in 1973) thought hard about it. $500 was our food budget for the year. Ultimately, I convinced her that it would be a sound investment – and when we got it, Ansel wrote a beautiful inscription to Ann and I on the back of the mount  – recalling (I presume) some of the time I was so enthusiastic around him almost a decade earlier.

Of course, we still own that print, and it began a lifetime of slow acquisitions of photographs – most of them from photographers we have known and admired.


To learn more about the event and how to start your photography collection (and memories), click here.

RSVP by Monday, Aug. 4, is greatly appreciated. Contact Christina Shih at or 619.238.7559 x227.

Collecting Photography 101
Thursday, August 7
6 – 8 p.m.
Free to Attend

Hosted at:
Ligne Roset Showroom
7726 Girard Ave.
La Jolla, CA 92037


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MOPA is now MOPA@SDMA!Learn More


Welcome to the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art!

As of July 1, 2023, the Museum of Photographic Arts and The San Diego Museum of Art have merged to become one unified institution. The Museum of Photographic Arts is now the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA).

MOPA@SDMA remains a pay-what-you wish museum open Thursdays through Sundays 11:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you soon!