ANSEL ADAMS: „You don't take a photograph, you make it“

October 24, 2018

Ansel Adams with Camera

Ansel Adams (1902-1984) a very well know master of photography and arguably the most influential landscape photographer in American history. He was a lifelong conservationist who encouraged understanding of, and respect for, the natural environment.

Born in a suburb of coastal San Francisco in 1902, Adams was the only child of a family who found wealth in the logging and freight trades and, soon after, lost it in the stock market panic of 1907. Ansel’s father, a businessman who in his own youth had been discouraged from pursuing a passionate love of nature and science, was determined that his son would be free to follow his own interests, wherever they might lead. In 1915 he bought Ansel a yeary pass to the Panama-Pacific Exposition. During this exposition, Ansel began to take pictures of the fair and of the Golden Gate area with his Brownie box camera.

He was 14 when he first visited Yosemite in 1916 with his family. And there his love affair with the grandeur of Yosemite started and lasted for nearly three fourths of a century. He was married at Yosemite. His son was born there.

He began producing photos seriously in Yosemite by 1917 and by the following year was already bringing his own developing chemicals with him. He used to shut himself in a darkroom for a whole day in order to develop one picture. Soon after the black and white images of the monoliths of Yosemite Valley, the pristine High Sierra and the dramatic cliff lines of Big Sur have become synonymous with the rugged beauty of the American West.

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams climbed mountains, was trekking for hours at a time in order to take the right shot. He would often leave before dawn, and arrive home after dusk, because he knew the importance of finding the right place to stand. A good example is his climb to Half Dome for a a shot that would launch his career as one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.His photographs distinguish with their compositional and tonal aspects inherent in the granitic landscape of nature, dramatic look and wowing effect. The masterpieces are even more touching when looking at the iconic prints.

During his life, Ansel was also an activist and environmentalist - a pioneer in the citizen movement to preserve the wilderness. He spoke through his photos and fought hard to lobby congress to create more national parks and was successful with Kings Canyon National Park.

After his death in 1984, an area of national park was named The Ansel Adams Wilderness, and a mount was even named after him in 1985, Mount Ansel Adams.




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