Who is Ansel Adams?
Ansel Easton Adams was a photographer, mainly known for his black-and-white photographs, photography of the West and Yosemite National Park. The name of the famous photographer is associated with the Sierra Club and f/64 Group, that both played important roles in the environmental photographer’s life.
Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco in February 20, 1902. Adams was exposed to the beauty of the environment in his childhood days, beyond the Golden Gate. Later on, nature became his major subject and muse in photography. In 1919 Adams had his first contact with the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club was dedicated to preserving the nature. In 1928, Ansel Adams, a strong environmentalist who took landscape photograhy to its conclusion and represented nature’s idealized beautiful side, became the official photographer of the club. His first photographs were published in the Sierra Club Bulletin. Adams’ crystal clear images of the West are depicted as “timeless” and “stunning”.
He was also the member of the f/64 group that was named after the smallest aperture setting on a camera. As the group stated in their manifesto “Group f/64 limits its members and invitational names to those workers who are striving to define photography as an art form by simple and direct presentation through purely photographic methods.”
Ansel Adams along with famous photographers of the time like photographers Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham, founded this group. With his clear, black and white photographs of the nature, he became a symbol of Yosemite National Park. Adams did not inclde human figures in his photographs, which was something he was criticized for. In 1968, he was awarded the Conservation Service Award, the Interior Department's highest civilian honor. Alongside being a famous photographer of the West, Ansel Adams also left a trace in history as a devoted environmentalist, who tried to increase the consciousness about the environment.
Ansel Adams and Photography:
The Yosemite National Park played an important role in Ansel Adams’ life. It is the place where he was exposed to the beauty of the landscape, had met his wife, and prodeuced his well known landscape photography. The image above is an example of that. As Adams states in his own words "That first impression of the valley—white water, azaleas, cool fir caverns, tall pines and stolid oaks, cliffs rising to undreamed-of heights, the poignant sounds and smells of the Sierra… was a culmination of experience so intense as to be almost painful. From that day in 1916 my life has been colored and modulated by the great earth gesture of the Sierra.". Here he represents a black-and-white image from the park. The black-and-white photographs have become almost like a signature of Ansel Adams’ in years. Moreover the image is not blurred at any place. It is focused very neatly and it looks crystal clear, which is a characteristic of f/64 Group’s members’ photography. Even though Ansel Adams used his photography for commercial reasons at first, for example for the commercials of Sierra Club, then his work turned into pieces of fine art as time passed.
1) Ansel Adams & The Sierra Club, About Ansel Adams.12/07/2008.
2) Group f/64. 12/07/2008.
3) Ansel Adams. 12/07/2008.
4)Ansel Adams in Yosemite. 12/07/2008.