The Impact of Ansel Adams
The evolution of photography, from the very beginning to the modern technology we have today, is largely due to a few select specialists that took the matter into their own hands. Many discoveries were made about photography during the late 1800’s and into the 1900’s, but none greater than the discoveries of Ansel Adams. Ansel Adams made a huge impact on photography because of his technological advances, environmental work, and how he won the hearts of many with his beautiful works of art.
Ansel Adams was a very talented photographer who captured beautiful photographs from day one. He had many accomplishments in his lifetime such as creating the Zone System, saving National Parks, working as an environmentalist and more. Adams was born into an upper-class San Francisco family in 1902. He was an only child and as a boy, he had no friends (“Ansel Adams”). He grew up among sand dunes and the sea cliffs, developing a love for nature very early in his life. Ansel Adams became interested in piano before he started photographing. Adams had an eidetic memory, causing his to excel in learning and memorizing notes (Alinder, 45). Piano playing caused him to meet his future wife, Virginia Best, in Yosemite later in his years but Photography won him over his music career. Ansel Adams specialized in black-and-white photography. Some of his most famous black-and-whites are taken at Yosemite. His uses of contrast and differences in texture are captivating and different. No other photographer of his time could capture the images he did. Yosemite Valley, Thunderstorm, Moon and Half Dome, and Monolith, The Face of Half Dome are all great examples of his Yosemite work.
Ansel Adams spent a majority of his life visiting Yosemite National Park. When he was only seventeen; he joined the Sierra Club, a Yosemite Defense Association founded by John Muir in 1892 (Alinder, 28) Soon, when Adams realized that he was a good photographer and could make a living doing this; he was elected to the Sierra Club board of directors as the Defender of Yosemite and the Artist of the Sierra Nevada (Turnage). In 1927, Adams met another photographer named Edward Weston. Shortly after the two met, they formed a small group of photographers called Group f/64. Group f/64 was a group of about 16 photographers who all came together with the same purpose, to promote and produce a new modern type of photography. Within the group, many of the photographers, such as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Willard Van Dyke, and others, “…espoused in response to the Pictorialist methods that were still in fashion at the time in California (“Group f/64”).” Together they all came up with the name of ‘Straight Photography’, describing the depth of the photograph as the name does as well. “…They must take a united stand in favor of straight photography. (Alinder, 85)” The name f/64 is a small aperture setting on a camera which applies more depth and clearness to a photo while shooting (Krehbiel). “It signifies to a large extent the qualities of clearness and definition of the photographic image which is an important element in the work of members of this group… (Alinder, 87).” The group strove to make the people see photography as an art form instead of a hobby or an interest. They focused on taking pictures of things found in nature. They refrained from tampering with beautiful scenery found among nature (Alinder, 85). Ansel Adams played a large role in Group f/64. Because of his involvement, they created many exhibitions that he oversaw and prepared for (Alinder, 86, 87). The first and most important was in San Francisco at the de Young Museum in 1932. The show was open to the public and ran for six weeks with a display of eighty photographs taken by various photographers in the Group f/64 (“Group f/64”). The manifesto of the group was also on display to the public at the exhibition. The manifesto went against all current rules for...
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