2: Ansel Adams

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    The photographer that has had the largest impact on my own photographic work is Ansel Easton Adams. The American photographer was known primarily for his landscape and environmental photographs, as well as his black and whites. He worked in the Western area of America, the majority of his well-known work done in Yosemite National Park. Adams developed the Zone System for his images, giving him a way to determine the proper exposure and contrast of the final image. The results of this development gave him the characterizing clarity and depth his photographs are known for. He used the early design for the Fish eye lens, known as a large-format view, which was very difficult because of how large, heavy, and costly it was. He chose this view for the high-resolution sharpness it created for his images. Adams was the founder of the Group f/64, along with Weston and Cunningham (who created the Museum of Modern Art photography department). Even today Adam’s work is recognized on calendars, posters, and many more items.
    Ansel Adams was born in California in 1902 to an upper-class family in the lumber business. He would later curse the same industry that made his family wealthy for cutting down so many of the great redwood forests. His well-known left-leaning broken nose occurred at age four during an earthquake. He was prone to sickness, though this gave him ample time to find passion through nature. His parents raised him to live a modest, moral life, like the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson. During his youth he planned to become a concert pianist. Then, in 1916, his family visited Yosemite National Park. This changed his perspective and career drastically.
    The most meaningful photograph taken by Ansel is titled “Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome”. It had an impact on me because it is nature in all its glory. It is simple, yet truly evokes emotions. It shows how weather takes a toll on nature, how over time nature can do whatever it wants to, grow however it wants. The shadowing, the clouds in the sky, and the mountain background create subtle elegance. This photograph inspired me to capture nature; my goal is to capture it as wonderfully as Ansel Adam’s did.
    The theme that really touched me in regards to Ansel Adam’s work is Nature. He was so talented in the way he brought to life the beautiful environmental purity of the landscape. The most amazing technique that he used, in my opinion, is his black and white images. It shocks me that, in 1920’s, he was able to bring so much emotion to a black and white photograph. I take inspiration from him and his abilities with a camera, and hope to aspire to a photographer even half as incredible as Ansel Easton Adams.

    Submitted by: Marissa H Schwanger
    March 7, 2009

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Thank you for sharing! Great choice in sample shots.

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