Ansel Adams Ansel Adams A rugged man stands on top of a mountain. The year is 1945. Strapped on his back are tripods, sleeping bags, a tent, and a couple of large view cameras. He has been traveling for days without seeing another person.
His old dusty station wagon is parked miles away. He climbs the smooth slippery rocks using some frail rope tied together, not the usual climbing gear. On his left is a mountain range with snow caps, and on his right is a waterfall that turns into a roaring river down the mountain. He opens the tripod and sets it on the ground. He tests it to see if it is sturdy and then mounts his large black box camera into its place on the top.
After focusing the lens he checks the shutter speed and the aperture. Reaching into his bag he pulls out a metal frame about 4 inches by 4 inches square. He slides this frame into the back of his camera. Click, click goes the shutter as it opens and closes. This process is repeated for many hours until he feels that he has captured just the right moment. He is being paid by Kodak $250.
00 for a picture of a waterfall with a rainbow. This man is Ansel Adams. His work cannot be matched in quality or quantity even today. Adams’ first trip to Yosemite Valley took place in 1916 at the age of 14. He traveled with his family and a brand new Brownie box camera.
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He was originally a student of music, but this trip turned his interests toward photography. He once said “I knew my destiny when I first experienced Yosemite.’ Friends and family told him not to give up his piano playing because a camera could not possibly express the human soul. He once said, “Maybe a camera can’t express my soul but the final photograph can.’ Adams learned about photography through clubs and from his friends. The mountain vistas that he saw at Yosemite Valley inspired his first pictures. Ansel Adams had many purposes in mind while photographing. First, he wanted to show people the beauty of Yosemite Valley since everyone could not get there.
Second, he worked to increase public acceptance of photography as a fine art. Lastly and most importantly, he photographed these scenes in hopes of preserving nature and the wilderness. He was one of the first photographers with these types of goals in mind. Preserving nature was one of Ansel’s greatest concerns. One of the foremost photographers of his time, Adams was without peer in his own special field of nature and landscape photography. He brought a deep concern for the preservation of wilderness areas.
His pictures depict raw mountains, harsh deserts, enormous clouds, and towering trees, just as they appear in the environment. In 1936 he became director of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club was a group founded in 1892, which worked to preserve the scenic beauty of particular areas in the United States. He had a direct hand in preserving Kings Canyon by making it a National Park with the publication of his book “The Sierra Nevada’ in 1938. “The problem is not whether we must save the natural scene, but how we may accomplish it.’ His photographs are unique from all other photographers, for many reasons. Perhaps one of the reasons that his photos are so different is because he perceived photography as an adventure not as a job.
This enabled him to be more focused on what he was doing and not why he was doing it. While taking pictures in Yosemite, many days would pass when he would not see anyone. He enjoyed both because he perceived + 4 J + A + 4 J + A + 4 J + A + 4 J + A + 4 J + A + 4 J + A + 4 J + A + 4 J + A + 4 J + A + 4 J + A s and even surpass the realistic detail of 19 th-century landscape photographs.’ Adams admired Stieglitz for his clear and abstract work. In the 1930’s he was so impressed by the U.
... meeting Paul Strand, another photographer, Adams devoted his life to photography. 1931 was they year that his work was first put into the ... , his pictures sold for prices that were never before imaginable by a living American photographer. By this time, Adams had stopped making photographs ...
S. photographer Paul Strand, whose photographs emphasized beauty of tone and sharp detail, that he adopted his approach called straight photography. Straight photography utilizes sharply focused, unrestricted pictures to give a quality of honesty and authenticity. Adams stressed the importance of all the steps in photography, not just the finished product. He worked just as hard in the darkroom as he did in composing pictures.
He combined art and science to come up with his technique that he called the Zone System. This ensured that the photo came out just as he wanted it to. Adams did some color photography for major companies. He did this because he would make money doing what the loved best and he felt that he would be helping the environment at the same time. He figured that if he took good photographs, everyone would appreciate the beauty of the land and take steps to preserve it. In 1941 Adams began to make photo murals for the United States Department of the Interior.
Their large scale forced him to master techniques for photographing the light and space of immense landscapes. Kodak paid him for a number of years for photographs of what they wanted. Adams took over 40, 000 pictures in black and white during his lifetime. Many believe that he only worked in black and white during his life.
However, he used color slides for 40 years. He took over 3, 000 color images in his lifetime. Very few of these color images were every published or exhibited. Adams sometimes felt that working in color was like playing an off-key piano. He thought that he did not have as much control over the final outcome of a picture if he worked in color. He also did not like color photography because he felt that color distracted the eye from the true meaning of the photograph.
In 1946 he established, at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, the first academic department to teach photography as a profession. Up until his death in 1984 of heart failure, aggravated by cancer, Adams wrote many books. Some of these books inform the reader of the proper techniques of photography. However, the majority of his books are pleas for the preservation of nature. Some examples of these books would be Photographs of the Southwest, My Camera in the National Parks, and this is the American Earth. Ansel Adams was truly one of the best photographers of his time.
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He was the first to photograph Yosemite for the rest of the nation to see. He was not afraid to start a trend. He was the first to try to get the public to accept photography as a fine art. He did not give up easily. Even when he faced hard times, Adams did not give up his passion for photography. He deserves the praise that is being given to him because he was very dedicated to his work..