The legendary photographer: Ansel Adams

I hope that my work will encourage self expression in others and stimulate the search for beauty and creative excitement in the great world around us.

—Ansel Adams

Our world is filled with talented artists spanning from the ones who have gone down in history to the ones whose names have yet to be discovered. One artist that stands out in the crowd is a man named Ansel Adams. Adams was born on February 20th 1902 in San Francisco, California. As a child Adams was a very shy boy; as a result he became fascinated by nature. Some would say this was a great thing because it helped to cultivate one of the greatest nature photographers who ever lived. Although Ansel had no formal schooling, he was a great musician. Music took the place of traditional schooling and was his planned career path until he discovered his love for photography. The discipline he learned from his musical studies was something he carried over into his photography and helped him immensely. As a boy Adams grew up near the Golden Gate Bridge, which was surrounded by beautiful nature. This is how his love for nature photography set in. Ansel’s first camera was the Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie, which was Kodak’s first mass production camera, and was given to him by his parents.

Much of Ansel’s time was spent in Sierra Nevada and Yosemite, where he met his wife Virginia Best. Ansel was an avid member of the Sierra Club and in 1922 his photography and writing was published in the club’s bulletin. In 1927 Adams made his first fully visual photograph, which was titled Monolith, the Face of Half Dome. That same year Ansel met a man named Albert M. Bender who was a patron of the arts. Bender later went on to help Ansel prepare and publish his first portfolio. 1933 was a pivotal year for Adams. This was the year that he first visited New York and met a photographer named Alfred Stieglitz. That same year, Adams was given the honor of having his photography featured in a gallery show at the Delphic Gallery in New York. In 1935, Ansel’s book, Making a Photograph, was distributed and to top it all off, the following year Alfred Stieglitz gave Adams a show at An American Place. Adams invented the Zone System, which helped determine correct exposure and contrast of a photos’ final print. The main cameras he used were very large. He preferred larger cameras despite their size, weight, high cost, and extensive set up time. The reason Ansel chose to use larger cameras was because they have higher resolution. The higher resolution made his images sharper.

Ansel is recognized for his amazing landscape shots as well as his use of the darkroom to create stunning black and white photos. Adams name is permanently chiseled into art history. His contributions to the art world are immeasurable and his talent is one that will never be forgotten.

*This photograph is known for being the one that made Ansel Adams famous.*

Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California, 1927

Sand Dunes, Sunrise, Death Valley National Monument, California, 1948

The Tetons & Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942

Storm Surf, Timber Cove, California, 1960

Oak Tree, Snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, 1948