Ansel adams Essay

This essay has a total of 1112 words and 6 pages.

ansel adams

Ansel Adams photographer and artist
Until the 19th century most artwork was created in a two or three-dimensional media. In
England, William Fox discovered a technique that allowed camera images to be captured on
paper. This medium has evolved since Fox's discovery in 1839 to a serious and viable form
of art today. Photography allows the artist to capture what he sees. The image produced is
reality to the artists eye, it can only be manipulated with light and angles.

The photograph is a very powerful medium. The French painter Paul Delaroche exclaimed upon
seeing an early photograph "from now on, painting is dead!" (Sayre, 2000). Many critics
did not take photography seriously as a legitimate art form until the 20th century. With
the advances in technology, the equipment and techniques had evolved to the point that the
artist could capture, on paper, the beauty or horrors of their environment. Photography
allowed the artist to explore the fourth dimension - time (Sayre, 2000). Ansel Adams as an
environmental activist brought a greater public awareness to the art of photography.

Ansel Adams grew up in San Francisco where he was born in 1902 and remained an only child.
He was interested in the traditional arts of music and painting. Adams also was fascinated
with science and even collected insects. (Adams & Alinder, 1985). During a family vacation
to the Yosemite Valley when he was fourteen, Adams discovered the beauty of nature and
photography. His father gave him a No. 1 Brownie Box camera (Jacobs, 1999) and a
photographer was born.

Adams struggled with formal education. He despised the regimentation of the education
system and was removed from school by his father when he was fifteen. His father purchased
a pass to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition being held in San Francisco and
required that Adams spend part of each day there as a substitute for school (Adams &
Alinder, 1985). Adams also continued his studies of music and literature at home.

Adams was determined to be a concert pianist. In 1930, after viewing negatives made by
East Coast photographer Paul Strand, Adams chose a career in photography (Adams & Alinder,
1985). Adams decision to be a full time photographer changed the photographic visions of
the west. He spent his time in National parks photographing the immense beauty of nature
in these national treasures.

Adams formed a group with other San Francisco photographers in 1932 called f/64, referring
to the smallest aperture opening on a camera lens (Gray, 1994). The group concentrated on
form and texture. The group translated scale and detail into organic, sometimes abstract
design (Jacobs, 1995).

In 1935, Adams published his first book, Making a Photograph. Six years later, his Zone
System was formulated. The Zone System introduced a way for the professional and amateur
photographers to determine and control the exposure and development of prints for maximum
visual acuity (Jacobs, 1995). The Zone System marked his first efforts at public education
on photography.

Adams felt a sense of duty to share his knowledge of nature and photography. "…[Adams]
was master teacher as well as a master photographer" (Schaefer, 1992). He wrote many books
and taught students his art. Adams technical ability in the darkroom was magical. He set
the standard for black and white printing. His discriminating taste and meticulously
produced prints continue to amaze current generations twenty-five years after his death.
Adams was an experimenter and a modernist with his camera.

Adams cherished the times he spent on vacation in Yosemite with his family. He spent part
of his life teaching others how to capture the panoramic beauty of our national parks. In
1940 he taught his first of many workshops "The U.S. Camera Photographic Forum" in
Yosemite with Edward Weston (Capa, 1986).

As Adams work came to the public eye, his skills and artistic visions were sought by many.
Life magazine who gave photographers their first published forum in 1936 (Sayre, 2000)
commissioned Adams in 1953 to conduct a photo essay of the Mormons in Utah (Capa, 1986).

Adams was also an activist. He used his influence as an artist to encourage conservation
of our natural resources. He was deeply committed to this cause. Adams met with and
appealed to presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan to make conservation a high priority.
Adams efforts contributed to the Bicentennial Land Heritage Act, proposed by President
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