Ansel Adams is one of the most famous landscape photographers known around the world. He is best known for countless, perfectly balanced black and white images of the Yosemite Valley, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and many more iconic national parks and landscapes throughout America. He set the standard of landscape photography presented as fine art to this very day. Read more…
At sunrise the Minarets reflect in a small pond near Cecile Lake.
It’s been just over three decades since the passing of Ansel Adams, but his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds (and on many of the walls) of those he inspired. One of those people, noted National Geographic photographer Peter Essick, decided to pay tribute to the renowned Group f/64 master. Read more…
UC Berkeley’s library system is the fourth largest library in the United States, so it’s no wonder that treasures are often forgotten and buried inside the rare collections. Case in point: a massive collection of signed prints by Ansel Adams have been discovered in one of the 32 libraries, just sitting around in a box. Read more…
If you have a free 20 minutes, here’s a great 1958 documentary on the life and work of iconic landscape photographer Ansel Adams. Created while Adams was living at a house near the Golden Gate Bridge, the film provides a look into his home, interests, attitudes toward art, camera equipment, and photographic techniques. Read more…
A fascinating story from the art world: back in 2010, British businessman Andy Fields purchased a collection of 5 paintings from a Las Vegas garage sale for $5. When he decided to have one of the paintings reframed, he discovered an early Andy Warhol sketch hidden behind it. The signed drawing is believed to be of 1930s singer Rudy Vallee and created when Warhol was just 10 years old. Warhol paintings fetch absurd prices on the auction block — the artist is considered to be the bellwether of the art market — and the sketch is estimated to be worth a whopping $2 million.
[…] an elegant, moving, and lyrical portrait of this quintessentially American photographer. The documentary weaves together archival footage, photographic images, dramatic readings of the artist’s own writing, and interviews with leading photographers, historians, curators, naturalists, as well as Adams’s family, friends, and colleagues, to tell the story of a man who was at once a visionary photographer, a pioneer in photographic technique, and an ardent crusader for the cause of environmentalism.
It’s about 80 minutes long. You can find out more about the film here.
Did you know that in addition to making his famous landscape images, Ansel Adams made ends meet by shooting commercial work? Although he made photos for clients as large as IBM, AT&T, and LIFE, Adams didn’t like his job. In a 1938 letter to a friend, he wrote,
I have to do something in the relatively near future to regain the right track in photography. I am literally swamped with “commercial” work — necessary for practical reasons, but very restraining to my creative work. [#]
It was around this time that one of his photos was chosen for the cover of LIFE magazine — a cover that’s now considered one of the publications 20 worst covers. LIFE notes, that shortly after the issue was published, “the photographer stopped taking pictures of lutists and began photographing Yosemite.”
Here’s a rare behind-the-scenes look into Ansel Adams’ home in Carmel, California and the custom built darkroom in which most of Adams’ famous prints were created. It’s pretty amazing how much editing Adams’ did in transforming the plain negatives into the beautiful works of art hanging on walls around the world.
The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.
– Ansel Adams
Michael Adams, Ansel’s son and the “tour guide” in this video, also shares some of Ansel’s tools, techniques, and tricks.