Posted on: June 3, 2021 Posted by: Stuti Shiva Comments: 1
grayscale photo of cliff and pine trees

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Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park (c. 1927). Image Courtesy theartstory.com

The Half Dome image is amongst Adams’s best known, and most important, photographs. He later said of this image:

“The great rocks of Yosemite, expressing qualities of timeless, yet intimate grandeur, are the most compelling formations of their kind. We should not casually pass them by for they are the very heart of the earth speaking to us.” 

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St. Francis Church, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico (c. 1929). Image Courtesy theartstory.com

This is a rare soft-focus image of the angular white-washed church bathed in soft light and shadow. This image makes clear that even as late as 1929, Adams was working with a soft focus, and with textured paper. Both of these practices were in keeping with the Pictorialist method.

Rose and Driftwood, San Francisco, California (c. 1932). Image Courtesy theartstory.com

In the above image of the  Rose and Driftwood, Adams made use of sharp focus and high contrast to depict the delicate veins of the rose and the raised striations of the driftwood. The resulting image is a strikingly modern interpretation of the traditional still life.

The Art

Grand Teton and Snake River, Wyoming. Image Courtesy Ebay

Grand Teton is a masterful photograph that draws the viewer’s eye from the river in the foreground, around the bend to the snow-capped mountains.

Ansel Adams is one of the few photographers who need no introduction. The spectrum of Adams’ admirers has extended from the great Alfred Stieglitz, critics and historians, younger photographers of high talent, and hobbyist.

Adams was primarily a  landscape photographer. As a student of photography I am eternally thankful to Adams because the best of his pictures stir our memory of what it was like to be alone in an untouched world.

What Adams’ pictures show us is different from what we see in any landscape photographer before him. They are concerned, not with the description of objects—the rocks, trees, and water that are the nominal parts of his pictures—but with the description of the light that they modulate. 

His pictures exudes a feeling of ephemeral, in a peopleless world. Compared to those of his contemporary, Cartier-Bresson, describe in a world of human events.

Whats sets his work apart is based on the translation of light into precise tonal relationships.

Biography

Image Courtesy Photography West Gallery

Ansel Adams was born in 1902, in San Francisco. He began to photograph the landscape ot the American West more than fifty years ago, before the Model A had begun to replace the Model T. At that time there were no superhighways, no motels, and no passenger airlines. San Francisco and NewYork were, by crack train, four splendid days apart.

To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things.

Ansal Adams

List of the Prints

SAGUARO CACTUS, SUNRISE, ARIZONA 1946. Image Courtesy MoMA
THE WHITE CHURCH, HORNITOS, CALIFORNIA. Image Courtesy SFMOMA
OAK TREE, SNOW STORM, YOSEMITE. Image Courtesy SFMOMA

The Legacy of Ansal Adams

As a conservationist, writer, teacher, and photographer, Ansel Adams has been profoundly influential on future generations of artists, photographers, and environmentalists. There can be little doubt that he produced some of the most iconic images of the great American wilderness.Adams brought landscape photography into the realm of modernism by fusing technical precision with a profound and abiding love of the natural world.

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