Santa Barbara Landscape

Santa Barbara Landscape

Samuel Adelstein, ca. 1866-1934, was an active member of the California Camera Club whose pictorial works including a series of nude studies were published in Camera Craft in January, 1918 as part of his self-authored article: “An Enthusiast’s Experience“. The year before, the journal stated he was “an enthusiastic amateur photographer, a native son, a Director of the California Camera Club, and one of the Board of Governors of the Civic League of Improvement Clubs and Associations“. Immersing himself in the art of photography around 1916, he specialized in making enlargements (from sharp negatives) with a soft-focus Verito lens.

This mountain and tree landscape dates most likely to the early 1920’s. Most likely taken in Montecito in Santa Barbara County, California, the Santa Ynez Mountains can be seen faintly in the background through the line of trees.

A photograph by Adelstein published in the October, 1925 issue of Camera Craft shows the same type of tree identified as having been taken on the El Mirador Estate in Montecito.

Civically minded, he was chairman of the (San Francisco) Fillmore Street Improvement Association from at least 1907-08.

In 1925 the volume “Santa Barbara, California” was published by Southern Pacific Lines, authored by John Steven McGroarty with photographs by Adelstein.

This website has tentatively titled this work to reflect this geographical location.

print notes recto: signed in black ink at lower right corner of image: Samuel Adelstein; most likely printed on Kodak’s Artura Carbon Black,  a slow chlorobromide type photographic paper.

verso: in graphite centered: 34

Camera Craft associate editor Edgar Felloes, writing in the September, 1922 issue, made the following review of the photographer’s work:

Enthusiastic Amateur

Samuel Adelstein, member of the California Camera Club, may be considered one of the lucky ones among amateur photographers; he comes and goes as he pleases and his camera is a part of him. Many will envy him, he apparently has nothing to think of but this hobby.


Quite recently Mr. Adelstein had a collection of seventy of his pictures on view at the Public Library in Santa Barbara and the attendance was most flattering. The artists of the community gave unstinted praise to his work. It was through their solicitation that these pictures were brought together for public exhibition which was pronounced a great success.


Mr. Adelstein takes all his pictures with a 3¼ x 4¼ Ensign Reflex Camera equipped with a Carl Zeiss Tessar Ic lens, and like so many photographers these days has recourse to enlarging. For this purpose he uses the Verito Soft Focus lens, and most of his prints are made on Artura Carbon Black paper.

E.F.  (p. 426)

Provenance: Former collection, Bay Area, Marin County, California family via San Francisco 2015 Auction House sale.

Santa Barbara Landscape

Image Dimensions19.2 x 24.2 cm

Support Dimensions21.2 x 25.5 | 27.9 x 35.5 cm (cropped to edges of pasted primary mount)