Ansel Adams Essay

Submitted By jacobmm
Words: 1077
Pages: 5

Ansel Adams, one of the most prolific and well known photographers, produced numerous works throughout his lifetime that highlight the beauty and purity of the American West. Throughout his career Adams helped to create a foundation for photography as an art form through his work as a pure photographer. Adams’ body of work demonstrates the technical mastery he had of photography as well as the passion he felt for the glory and beauty of nature. As an artist, Ansel Adams worked to record the beauty of nature in its pure, untouched state as well as refresh America’s view of nature, reminding them of the majesty and wonder nature posses in order to further the conversationalist movement. Adams was successful in the roles he adopted as an artist, demonstrated by his career as an artist, the effect he had upon his own society, and the prominence his still has as an artist today following his death. Born in San Francisco in 1902, Adams was inspired by nature from a young age, spending much of his time as a child in the sand dunes near his home (History: Ansel Adams). The appreciation that Ansel Adams gained early of nature grew with his first visit to Yosemite at the age of fourteen, and at the age of nineteen Adams took a job as a custodian in Yosemite where he fostered an interest of photography, trekking deep into the woods to capture images of the many natural beauties found within the park. (History: Ansel Adams) It was during this time of Adams’ life in which he began to fall into the first of his roles as a photographer, to record the beauty and purity of nature that once existed in America and which was beginning to disappear with the modernization of the country. A member of the Sierra Club, an environmentalist organization founded by conversationalist icon John Muir, Adams’ became the official photographer for their trips into the wilderness and continued recording the beauty of Yosemite National Park. Adams work was first used by the Sierra Club to help with numerous movements regarding the National Park System, which helped him work his way into a career as an artist. (History: Ansel Adams) Throughout Ansel Adams’ career he remained focused on nature, primarily the West, and documenting the beauty it possesses. Adams’ created an extensive body of work that not only inspired America with its view of natural beauty, but also made strides with the conversationalist movement. Adams’ career as a photographer centered around landscapes that are often described as an idealized view of America’s West. (Kollin, Susan 86-88) Adams was unique from the majority of photographers in his time in that he utilized pure photography, or not altering the photograph from it’s original state. In order to accomplish this he had to visualize the photograph before actually taking it in order to make the photograph how he wanted it to look. (Getlein, Mark 203-204) Through his works Adams recorded the natural beauty found in Yosemite National Park and other similar areas. His photograph Yosemite Valley, 1948 (right) demonstrates this perfectly as it shows an area of the Yosemite Valley that many people were not able to view as Adams often traveled great distances through very rough terrain to capture his images. Yosemite Valley creates an idealized beauty through the careful planning Adams always took before taking an image. Before actually photographing a scene Adams knew exactly how the image would turn out and planned accordingly. Adams’ use of light within this piece creates the idealized beauty mentioned earlier, illuminating the clouds and bluffs with a majestic quality. Not only did Adams utilize landscapes to document and record the beauty found in nature, but he also refreshed his viewers view on nature by utilizing unique angles and frames. By illustrating nature through a view not normally taken during everyday life, Adams’ was able to show normal aspects of nature in a way different than most people had previously viewed them.