Ansel Adams

American Landscape Photographer and Environmentalist

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basic information

Full Name: Ansel Easton Adams

Place and Date of Birth: February 20th, 1902 in San Francisco, California.

Indicated Years of Life: Died April 22nd, 1984 (age 82)

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Education and Family Background

He was the only child of Charles Hitchcock Adams and Olive Bray Adams. His parents were both considered in the upper-class. His mother's family was from Baltimore. His father inherited his father's lumber business. Ansel worked along with his father cutting down many of the Redwood Forests. His father raised him to follow the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson: to live a modest, moral life guided by a social responsibility to man and nature. When he was twelve he wanted to take piano lessons and he continued taking them for 10 years, this became his intended profession around 1920. He was named after his uncle, Ansel Easton. Ansel received an Honorary Artium doctor degree from Harvard and a Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Yale.
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Job Experience

Ansel Adams worked along side his father in his lumber business for several years before he began his photography career. In 1927 he published his first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras. His first portfolio was a success and he earned nearly $3,900. After that he received several commercial photography jobs from the wealthy people who bought his portfolio. There are now 35 different photographic books containing images that he took and 10 different technical books.
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Ansel Adams primarily took black and white photographs. However, he did take color pictures as well. His work was based on nature and environmental aspects. A large portion of his work was taken in the Western side of the United States, especially Yosemite National Park. He is known for taking outstanding images of nature.
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He received a Conservation Service Award (1968), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980), the Sierra Club John Muir Award (1963), and he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame (2007) by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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What He Thought About His Work

Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space. I know of no sculpture, painting or music that exceeds the compelling spiritual command of the soaring shape of granite cliff and dome, of patina of light on rock and forest, and of the thunder and whispering of the falling, flowing waters. At first the colossal aspect may dominate; then we perceive and respond to the delicate and persuasive complex of nature.

— Ansel Adams, The Portfolios Of Ansel Adams

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What Others have said about his work

"Many know Yosemite’s sights by name, but more know them by sight alone, as captured through the lens of the legendary American photographer Ansel Adams."

"If ever a photographer deserved to have a mountain named after him, it was Ansel Adams (1902-84). He received the honor posthumously, when an 11,760-foot peak on the boundary of Yosemite National Park was designated Mount Ansel Adams in 1985."

"Ansel Adams is definitely a fantastic photographer, and part of the reason I admire him is that although digital came out during the course of his life, he stuck with the integrity, sharpness and grain of film. His photographs, mostly in black and white, are some of the most stunning examples of nature and urban scenery I've ever seen, and this book showcases his best work in a brilliantly set up book. Definitely worth buying, even if you're not a fan of film, if you love art or want to see the effort and life of a man who spent his moments surrounded by the beauty of the world, this is a book you'll want to have."

"No one has visually captured the rugged beauty of North American like Ansel Adams. In "Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs," the reader takes both a chronological and comprehensive journey through the life's work of this American visionary. Many places of natural beauty were photographed repeatedly by Adams over six decades, from childhood photos of Half Dome in 1916 to classic Ansel Adams icons, like "Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California, 1960." Adams was a technical giant, as well as an intuitive artist. Notes are included on selected images, providing insights into mystical moments of light and shadow, like the image captured by just one 8x10 negative, the famous "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941". Both meditative and mesmerizing, this compilation of Adam's photographs is the largest ever published."

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What do you appreciate about his work?

I appreciate that he takes beautiful photographs of nature and landscapes. I really like that he primarily took pictures in black and white. He has a very unique way of photographing. One of my favorite things to take pictures of is nature. I love looking at pictures of nature as well.
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