Ansel Adams and the Mark of His Work on the Photography Sphere

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Born in San Francisco, famous photographer of the mid to late 1900s, Ansel Adams made his mark on the world of photography with his stunning contributions. Adams, due to his lonely childhood, Adams found joy through nature with his frequent exploring through places around where he had grown up. Through this joy and his later shot at photography, he pursued a new career path in professional photography. His love for the simple and calm aspects of nature and the ability to portray this was through his work was a big factor in me choosing him for research.

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Adams’ passion for photography did not come until later in his lifetime, before then he was an inspired musician. It wasn’t for waste however; due to his extensive discipline he could fully utilize his visual creativity into his work. Using his Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie that his parents gave to him, he had recorded his time hiking and climbing. This turned into him taking photos of what would become his most famous photo, “Monolith, the face of Half Dome” which was taken at Yosemite’s LeConte Gully trail. His start up in the photography world came about from the time spent at The Sierra Club. As evident from the Adam Ansel Gallery, his first debut as a photographer came from The Sierra Club’s 1922 Bulletin, which featured his first published photographs. During the year of 1927 Adams’ life had started to take off after meeting Albert M. Bender. Albert was a patron of arts and artists; he helped Adams prepare his first portfolio which later got published. Albert became a good friend and encourager of Adams, which in turn gave him the confidence to turn his passion towards photography. His career into photography became more a priority after this, adding on projects and diving into more possibilities. He began to meet other photographers such as Paul Strand who helped shaped Adams’ style into a one that is more unique to Adams.

Adam’s accomplishments can be started during 1927 when he met Edward Weston. Edward and Adam had founded the renowned Group f/64, bringing national attention to the group and in turn Adam himself. According to his biography, in 1933 the Delphic Gallery gave Adams his first New York show, following the next year Camera Crafts published his first series of technical articles. His most noticeable accomplished was the development of the zone system which made it possible to have many shades of black, white, and grey in works of photography. Though he had faced these back to back successes, Adams had financial struggles which became apparent in a letter being sent to Weston reading, “I have been busy, but broke. Can’t seem to climb over the financial fence.” (Turnage 1) Adams spent most of his time working as a commercial photographer, limiting what work he was able to put out as a photographer. This did not hinder his love for photography or put him down. Adams became a well-known photographer for his creativity and his theory and practice of the medium which then he was often consulted by Weston and Strand for technical advice showing how well respected and known he was. Adams had traveled constantly throughout the country searching for natural beauty within the vast landscapes. He then played a role in the establishment of the first museum department of photography, this is currently residing at the Musuem of Modern Art in New York city. This soon led to his contribution to preserving American landscapes. Adams had passed away on April 22, 1984 due to a heart failure, his legacy is still carried on through his work, writings, and his place in the Photography Hall of Fame for his dedication and immense contribution to the photography community.

When looking at photographers, Adams stood out to me for his understanding of the calmness that he found in nature. Though his work was never for environmental preservation purposes, his portfolio showed how much love he had for the environment and the type of feelings it can convey onto a viewer. When taking a photo to represent his work I thought of what kind of beauty there could be in the state of Arkansas. Since this state has a fair number of scenic flatlands and hiking locations, I took to the nearest trail with a mountainside. I found that kind of scenery when walking though the trail at the Riverside Park in Searcy. The trail and riverside gave of this solemnness that I saw in Adams’ work, the tall mountainside with tall trees that overlooked the river was a type of calmness I could correlate with Adams’ work. I didn’t have a specific work that I referenced, but rather I focused on his overall portfolio which comprised of mostly landscape photographs.

Ansel Adams made the most out of his life as a photographer. Through his love for the art he inspired many more after him and left a legacy behind for others. His work made me feel calmness and made me see the beauty in the nature around me, prompting me to capture this feeling. Seeing his artwork and researching his accomplishments following his inspiration gave me motivation to go out more and capture what I see and express through that what I feel.

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