American Masters: Ansel Adams

4

This installment of American Masters looks back at the life and work of renowned American landscape photographer, Ansel Adams, who remains best known for his black and white photos of beautiful sceneries. We all like to dabble on landscape photography every now and then, so read on to learn more about the iconic landscape photographer after the jump!

Photo via Creative Photography

Ansel Easton Adams was the only child of upper-class couple Charles Hitchcock Adams and Olive Bray Adams, born on February 20, 1902 and named after his uncle. As a child, he was full of energy but was frequently ill and prone to hypochondria. Despite having few friends, the young Ansel had enough childhood activities in his family home and its surroundings. He also started being curious about nature at a young age, collecting bugs and exploring the waterways and coastlines of San Francisco. The young Ansel also shared and enjoyed amateur astronomy as a hobby with his father, who bought a three-inch telescope and took him to Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton.

Perhaps unknown to many, Ansel taught himself how to play the piano when he was 12. Around the time, Ansel had just been dismissed from schools for his inattentiveness and restlessness. Music became his main interest later in his youth, which propelled him to take piano lessons in place of formal education. While Ansel eventually gave up his plan to make a profession out of music, the piano was instrumental in giving him discipline, structure, and substance to his restless and frustrating youth.

Photo via California Historian

Ansel received his first camera, a Kodak Brownie box camera, from his father during a visit to the Yosemite National Park in 1916 with his family. There, he took his first photographs. On his first view of the valley, he said: “the splendor of Yosemite burst upon us and it was glorious… One wonder after another descended upon us… There was light everywhere… A new era began for me.”

Later, he learned basic darkroom technique while he worked part-time for a photo finisher in San Francisco. He also frequently read photography magazines, went to camera club meetings, and visited art and photography exhibits. By then, he was a photography master in the making, and the rest, as they say, was history.

Ansel Adams eventually became a well-known and respected name in photography for his poignant monochromatic snaps, some of the best ones you can see below:

Photos via Wikipedia, National Archives and Erin Pimm's Photography.

If you feel the need to be further inspired by the celebrated American photography master, head over to Lessons from Photography Masters: Ansel Adams for some words of wisdom, then Mimicking the Masters: Ansel Adams to see how you can get great landscapes a la Adams!

Photo via Frank Pictures Gallery

All information for this article were sourced from Ansel Adams on Wikipedia.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2012-11-02 #lomography #american-masters #american-masters-series #black-and-white-photography #lifestyle #photography #analogue-lifestyle #ansel-adams #landscape-photography

4 Comments

  1. wilfbiffherb
    wilfbiffherb ·

    i dont know how you can put up some ansel adams photos and leave out clearing winter storm! its epic!

  2. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    Perhaps you should also mention one important theory the "Zone System" too... ^..^

  3. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    always think... then shot!

  4. ilovemyson
    ilovemyson ·

    I named my son after him. Such an inspiration. :)

More Interesting Articles

  • Channeling Ansel Adams: A Visual Composition Gallery

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-05-07
    Channeling Ansel Adams: A Visual Composition Gallery

    Have you tried mimicking the photographic signature of Ansel Adams, the master of landscape photography?

    5
  • Studying Light and Shadow with Chiaroscuro

    written by Ciel Hernandez on 2016-02-23
    Studying Light and Shadow with Chiaroscuro

    The paintings of Rembrandt van Rijn and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio are known for their mastery of brightness and contrast in portraiture or scenery. Their influence on the visual arts has extended even to photography. In this capsule lesson, we tackle the principle of chiaroscuro, a technique used by the Renaissance artists to master light and shadow.

  • Newcomer of the Week: johannb

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-08-30
    Newcomer of the Week: johannb

    Graphic designer Johann Bottos caught the community's attention with his striking black and white landscape photographs. Previsualization is central to his photographic style. Before clicking the shutter, he tends to "wait for a particular moment or weather condition" that fits the image he has in mind. In this interview, he shares more about his passion for shooting on film as well as some of his favorite landscape images.

    4
  • Shop News

    Introducing the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens Now Available on Kickstarter!

    Introducing the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens Now Available on Kickstarter!

    We're thrilled to present our new Kickstarter project—the New Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens! Inspired by the bold brass design of the world's first photographic optic, the Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens is a versatile tool seeking the great return of dreamy imagery.

  • LomoAmigo Sean Marc Lee on the Romance of Instant Photography

    written by Lomography on 2016-03-07 #people #news
    LomoAmigo Sean Marc Lee on the Romance of Instant Photography

    Photographer Sean is currently based in Taiwan. He focuses on American lifestyle, as well as street and editorial fashion. We can always see the beauty and humor of life in his works. In this interview, he talks about the attractions and highs of taking instant pictures.

    1
  • A Salute to the Masters: The Temple Bar (A Tribute to Roger Mayne)

    written by sirio174 on 2015-12-19
    A Salute to the Masters: The Temple Bar (A Tribute to Roger Mayne)

    This is a tribute to a great English social street photographer, Roger Mayne, who passed away last year. His masterfully documented photographs of the working class life on the streets of London after World War II are poetic and humanitarian.

    2
  • The Beauty of Black and White

    written by lomographymagazine on 2015-11-18
    The Beauty of Black and White

    A popular quote by photojournalist Ted Grant goes, "When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!" Indeed, the lack of vibrant color forces the viewer to see beyond what is on plain view and recognize the atmosphere surrounding a photograph. In this post, we've handpicked black and white shots taken in various situations and exhibit different moods.

    5
  • Shop News

    Check the New Super Sampler Black Panther!

    Check the New Super Sampler Black Panther!

    The ultra-lightweight, low-maintenance 35mm camera that fits perfectly in your hand for some wild and spontaneous shooting!

  • Special Friendships: The Lomography X LIFE Competition

    written by petit_loir on 2015-09-10 #news
    Special Friendships: The Lomography X LIFE Competition

    September marks the 60th anniversary of James Dean's death. Dean is remembered not only for his roles in American films, but also for his iconic image associated with teenage rebellion. Filmmaker Anton Corbijn honors James Dean in "LIFE," a new film that showcases the special friendship between the young actor and photographer Dennis Stock who made Dean immortal through his pictures. Take part in our new competition and win movie tickets, James Dean posters, an illustrated book and a Diana F+ camera.

    3
  • Photo Stories: Pulau Ubin in B&W by boredslacker

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-08-12 #places
    Photo Stories: Pulau Ubin in B&W by boredslacker

    Off the main island of Singapore is the small island of Pulau Ubin, whose appearance is reminiscent of life in this highly urbanized country as it was many decades ago. Boredslacker gives us a glimpse through her gritty black and white photographs of the place.

  • Phil Jones: Fantasy Art Photography with the Petzval 85 Art Lens

    written by lomographysoholondon on 2016-06-20
    Phil Jones: Fantasy Art Photography with the Petzval 85 Art Lens

    Phil Jones uses photography as a way to create unusual stories through his images. He works as a professional photographer and jumped at the chance to test out the Petzval 85 Art Lens on some of his models.

  • Shop News

    Say Aloha to the Lomo'Instant Honolulu!

    Say Aloha to the Lomo'Instant Honolulu!

    Ride the wave of infinite creative possibility with the Lomo'Instant Honolulu! Sway with the palm trees, dig your toes in the sand, and start snapping amazing instant photos!

  • Chlorophyll Prints by Binh Danh: An Interview

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-02-03 #people
    Chlorophyll Prints by Binh Danh: An Interview

    In the work of Binh Danh, art is space for the unnamed to be seen. When war is the theme every detail counts. How does one person tackle this massive issue, where death and the value of lives intersect? A one-man job becomes a job about other men. And so for his series "Immortality: The Remnants of the Vietnam and American War" he made chlorophyll prints to express the indelible mark of war on various lands. Soldiers and laymen whose faces and records have been archived are given another chance to be remembered.

    1
  • 'A'r' - a New Series by Armin Amirian

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2016-02-04 #people
    'A'r' - a New Series by Armin Amirian

    Last year, Armin Amirian talked to Lomography about his motivations as an artist, his inspiration for his work and the difficulty of pursuing his passion in the society he belongs to. With that came a collection of images that reflected the concerns he and his fellow countrymen are faced with every day. The Iran-based photographer returns with insight on his new body of work.

    3
  • Robin Rimbaud Shoots with the LC-A 120

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-10-05 #people
    Robin Rimbaud Shoots with the LC-A 120

    Robin Rimbaud is a UK based artist, record producer, and composer who works under the name "Scanner" in reference to his use of mobile phone signals and police scanners in his early performances. He has worked on soundtracks for films, sound installations, radio, dance and theater. Robin also has a passion for medium format photography, owns a Holga camera and has a unique photographic style. Get to know him in this interview, where he talks about his personal work as well as his experience with the Lomo LC-A 120.

    1