Master Of Photography: Ansel Adams

ansel adams - icon photography school
Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film 2002

Video by Tony Northrup

Adams on Visualization (video by Advancing Your Photography)

Ansel Adams was born in 1902 and became best known for his black and white photographs of the northwest. Adams was born into a rich family but his father pulled him out of school at the age of 12 and pushed Adams to focus his efforts on Greek and Piano playing. Adams took a great interest in the Piano and went on to split his time between photography and piano. Adams was inspired to get into photography when he saw negatives of Paul Strands.

In 1932 Ansel Adams along with other photographers formed the group f/64. The members of this photography group focused their efforts on achieving the greatest depth of field with the sharpest possible reproduction of details. The members of the group f/64 were obsessed with the precision that photography could achieve. In the early 40's Adams created what is known as his 'zone system', which is a system that helps photographers determine the correct exposure and a desired development time to help optimize for the most ideal gradation of grey values. More specifically the zone system is a technique which allows photographers to translate light into specific densities and negatives which gives the photographer much more control over the look of their final product.

Adams gained exposure by touring with his photographic works, giving seminars and publishing books. In 1946 he founded the department of photography at the California School of Fine Arts.

Adams spent a considerable amount of time in National Parks and even published 24 books on the parks which he used to help generate public interest in the parks.

Below I've posted a handful of black and white photographs created by Adams. Notice the precision with his focused depth of field. Also notice his interest in texture and providing a broad tonal range (white to black). For those interested in black and white photography studying Ansel Adams in more depth will serve to better you substantially as a black and white photographer. We dedicate an entire lesson to the betterment of your black and white photography, but until then you can admire the works of Ansel Adams below. These photographs are also worth re-visiting after you complete the lesson on black and white photography. You'll see the pictures in a new light once you understand the foundation and complexities of black and white photography.

ansel adams photo

ansel adams photo

Art Of Photography On Ansel Adams
(Video by Ted Forbes)

Documentary About Ansel Adams from 1958

Documentary about Ansel Adams from 1983

How To Shoot Yosemite Like Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams' Most Famous Picture

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