04 August 2011

Ansel Adams

Susan Brannon
4th August 2011
Ansel Adams a Biography 

Ansel Adams has been the environmental legendary photographer who captured Americas beauty through the lens.  He is known for his black and white photographs that resound with shadows and light.  In my opinion, he has been one of the best photographers in our American history.

He was born in San Francisco on February 20, 1902 and passed on in April 22, 1984. He was a traveler and environmentalist who had a keen passion for nature. It is assumed that Ansel Adams suffered from dylexia, because he had problems fitting in at school.  Some others feel that he may have had ADHA, hyperactive disorder.  His father decided to tutor him at home, and earned a diploma completing the 8th grade from Mrs. Kate M. Wilkins Private School.

He would wolk in nature in his childhood in the wilds near the Golden gate bridge or hiking the dunes along Lobos Creek and off to Bakers Beach.  Later in life, he set out through America.

At twelve years old, Ansel Adams taught himself to play the piano and became his primary occupation.  It could be that the training and discipline required to learn the piano influenced his view of photography.

His first camera was the Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie that his parents bought him.  He would take the camera with him during his hikes and spent the first four summers from 1919, in Yosemite Valley as the "keeper" of the Sierra Clubs, LeConte Memorial Lodge.

The Sierra Club contributed to Ansel Adams success as a photographer because he first published photographs and writings in the club's 1922 Bulletin, and in 1928 he had his first one man exhibition in San Francisco.

in the late 1920's, the Sierra Club would offer month long trips in the Sierra Nevada, where the participants hiked each day to a new campsite, using mules, packers, and cooks.  Adams, was the photographer of the outings and he soon realized that he could earn enough money to survive.  By 1934, Adams was elected to the club's board of directors and was already established as both artist and director of the Sierra Nevada.

Ansel Adams met photographer, Paul Strand in the 1930's and influenced his work from "pictorial style" to "straight photography", using the clarity of the lens.  Adams developed the development techniques of "burning" and "dodging" as well as the "zone system" to adjust the tonality of the images.  In 1952 Adams was one of the founders of the magazine Aperture, which was intended as a serious journal of photography showcasing its best practitioners and newest innovations.

Although Adams was gaining in popularity, in the 1930's he still seemed to have difficulty with financial pressures. He was busy, as a commercial photographer, but the clients took control.  He worked for National Park Service, Kodak, Zeiss, IBM, AT&T, Life, Fortune and the Arizona Highways magazines, shooting portraits to catalogues.  He was loosing his track in photography because he was swamped with commercial work for practical reasons.

Adams was good with technical matters in photography as consulted companies like Weston and Strand, Polaroid, and Hasselbland.  Ansel Adams was a activist of the cause of the wilderness and environment.  Adams images became an icon of wild America.  His images are no "realistic" of nature, but they have an intensification and purification of the experience of natural beauty.  (Ansel Adams)
His compelling images came from inspiration!

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Henri Cartie'r Bresson (Images)

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