Ansel Adams, most widely known in the photography world for his immaculate and accurate view of nature, changed the way people looked at photography. Adams described himself in three ways: a photographer, lecturer, and writer. But in actuality, you can combine these three facets and call him a communicator.
Born in 1902, Adams photographic vision was born immediately as he spent his childhood growing up in the natural beauty of San Francisco, California. As a shy and lonesome boy, Adams typically took long walks in the still-wild reaches of the Golden Gate observing and enjoying the nature.
Ansel Adams’ true passion for nature photography came from the Yosemite Sierra, where he spent substantial time at from 1916 until his death in 1984. Starting with the Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie that his parents gave him, Adams hiked, climbed, and explored the beauty of nature.
In 1930 Adams met photographer Paul Strand, whose images had a huge impact on Adams. It was his images that helped move Adams from a pictorial style in the 1920’s to straight photography. Adams eventually would become straight photography’s most articulate and masterful photographer.
What characterizes Adams’ nature photography more than anything was his will to travel all around the country in pursuit of both the natural beauty he photographed and the audiences he required. People began to connect Ansel Adams’ work with any topic of nature or the environment itself.
While Ansel Adams is most known for his breathtaking nature photography, he also produced spectacular black and white photography. Adams made black and white photography what it is today through several pieces of work he created. His black and white images helped induce an emotion of timeliness and freeze a particular moment. While many believe color adds to a picture, Adams showed that a black and white image can say just as much, if not more, than that of a colored image.
One image that stands out that he created in 1938 was “Half Dome, Merced River, Winter”, one of Adams’ most beloved photographs of Yosemite Valley. He took the photograph with an 8″x10″ view camera from the Old Sentinel Bridge near the Yosemite Chapel. This picture sums up his style perfectly with the gorgeous mountains covered in snow, trees all in front of the mountains also covered in snow, and a river flowing in the middle of the picture.
There are few photographers that have been able to leave a lasting image on people like Ansel Adams. His love and desire for nature enable him to take breathtaking nature photographs. And his black and white photography has made it what it is today.