One Of The Greatest Photographers- Ansel Adams
I figured I would start this blog out talking about one of the greatest photographers who ever lived. Can you take a guess who I’m talking about? Yes, Ansel Adams
“You don’t take a photograph you make it” were the words of a famous photographer, Ansel Adams. Born in 1902, Adams grew up in San Francisco as the only child of a conservative family. Going through a lonely childhood both at home and school resulted in great interest towards nature and art for him. Adams primarily taught himself how to play piano but later on his passion towards photography became much more prominent. Spending his time in the Golden Gate, he expressed his love for the landscape through his Kodak camera, a gift given to him by his parents. He started depicting Sierra Nevada and later on joining the Sierra Club in 1919, his early career was already promising as a landscape photographer.
1927 was a turning point in the career of Ansel Adams. He made his first well-known photograph named as Monolith while his acquaintance with Albert M. Bender, a patron of arts, gave Adams the opportunity to print his first portfolio. The effects that landscape had on him were evident in his portfolio as all the photographs present were portrayals of the nature in the United States, especially of Yosemite where he often had trips to. Moreover, during this year, Adams also met another photographer, Edward Weston. Their friendship led to the foundation of Group f/64 along with some other great photographers in 1932.
Gaining important recognition by the 30’s, he was elected as the director of the Sierra Club, a role that he kept for thirty seven years. Adams was also influenced by Alfred Stieglitz, an American photographer who had a similar approach towards photography. Their mutual aim was to illustrate that photography was capable of expressing the artistic beauty as profound as any other medium of art.
Having passed away in 1984, Ansel Adams was one of the most inspiring and influential photographers in the history. His influence was not limited to photography either, he had great impacts on environmentalism.
Most importantly, the notable photographer was able to succeed in his aim as he is considered to be the photographer who proved that photography was indeed a powerful medium to portray artistic beauty. While portraying this beauty, his photographs never included human beings, instead he always depicted rather idyllic landscapes. As a true environmentalist, he was also triumphant in preserving these landscapes through his art and activism. Most of the landscapes he photographed became national parks.
Ansel Adams was truly dedicated to photography.
Working day and night, traveling around the United States, photography was the reason of his existence. Through this dedication, he successfully developed a special technique called the Zone System. His technique was based on the idea of controlling the exposure by predicting how the end photograph would be considering the lights and shades. His aim was to obtain a flawless negative and a perfect print. Seeming rather straightforward today, it is important to take into account that his technique was pioneering in his era when digital photography did not exist. Ansel Adams also wrote three books on his technique, named as The Camera, The Negative and The Print.
As an innovative photographer, his photography had furthermore special aspects. One of these unique features of his photography was being always black and white. Playing with the shadows and brightness, he made the colors unnecessary. Indeed, through the lack of colors, he beautifully illustrated the contrasts and created emphasis on special parts of his photographs. Moreover, Adams saved the dramatic elements from the classic pictorial look through a systematic arrangement in order to reach a more geometrical depiction. Namely, his compositions achieved to create different impressions on the spectators, having strong emotional effects. His striking photography of the American wilderness led to a flow of wild emotions in his audience, proving what he once said “There are always two people in every picture: The photographer and the viewer.”
Known to be one of the greatest landscape photographers, Ansel Adams influenced many important other photographers through his technique and works. The list includes Tom Patton who is another well-known American photographer and Harry Callahan who is one of the innovators of the modern American photography. Furthermore, the exhibition held in the Museum of Photographic Arts in California focusing on the national parks of America shows the influences of Ansel Adams on many more contemporary photographers. View Ansel Adams work here, Ansel Adams