Lesson 2 Assignment – Inspiration

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    Certainly the work of Ansel Adams has been the most influential to me. Most of my photography has been travel related and therefore fits within his normal themes. But I have not yet been to Yosemite.

    I have been able to see a number of original Adams prints in person. The technical level is amazing, and it is easy to see what the f/64 group was trying to accomplish. The level of detail is amazing.

    To do this assignment I went to the web and looked at a number of Adams’ photographs, all of which I had seen before. Although his landscape work is iconic, I was also drawn to a number of close-ups and people pictures that he took. It is only upon this reflection that I realize how I have borrowed some of his techniques. For example, Adams took a photograph at Glacier National Park not of a glacier, but of a number of leaves and ferns.

    What this taught me was that good photographs come from looking at the trees (and the grass and the leaves) as well as at the forest. This kind of photograph often gets a response when I am doing a slide show. Most people don’t think in these terms.

    An example is a picture I took in China of the oldest tree in Bejing. But I didn’t take a picture of the tree. Instead, I filled the frame with the bark because that in itself was so interesting.

    One of the Adams portrait shots that I found on the web was one of Georgia O’Keefe and Orville Cox. The thing that makes the picture, obviously, is the expression on the face to Georgia O’Keefe. However, whenever I take pictures I try to include pictures of people.

    So I suppose the practical lesson is that even though Ansel Adams was justifiably known for his landscape photographs, that was not the totality of what he did. His landscapes also include the details, not just the panoramas, and the people.

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Yes, Ansel Adams is an inspiration, not only for his breathtaking landscapes and portraits, but also for his microscopic attention to detail. I think that his technical understanding of photography is one of the most important lessons that should be taken from Ansel Adams.

    He has an incredible amount of knowledge about the technical components of his craft. It’s this understanding that allows him to embed strong compositions and engaging stories into photographs that only stand out because of what they communicate but they also stand out based purely on their technical standards.

    Obviously, this level of attention to detail is something that we hope to see develop in your photographs as you progress through the course.

    We’re looking forward to seeing your next practical assignment!

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