Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams was born on February 20, 1902 at 114 maple street, San Francisco to Charles Hitchcock Adams and Olivia Bray Adams. In Ansel's early ears an aftershock from an earthquake sent him to the ground breaking his nose. This distorted the features of his nose and he was very insecure in his elementary and middle school years. Ansel only completed school up to grade 8, and liked to learn through his own interests. At a young age Ansel liked to explore outdoors, go on long hikes, and be outside in general. Ansel grew up in a house on the sand dunes in San Francisco California. A year after the Earthquake that damaged the Adams home, and broke Ansel's nose, the family's fortune was demolished in the financial panic of 1907. During his childhood Ansel's mother spent her time being upset that her husband could not restore the family's fortune. Ansel spent his time hiking outside or strolling out on the beaches. Ansel took up music as his passion after dropping out of school. This became his substitute for formal academic schooling. The piano provided structure and disipline for his rather irregular and unstructured childhood. Ansel joined an outdoor hiking and conservaionist club called the Sierra Club, this club further egged on his passion for photography and ansel-adams.jpgnature. The Sierra club provided him with the oppertunity to show his work to the public and publish some of his photographs. At nineteen Ansel adams created hisfirst fully vizualized photograph Monolith, the face of the half dome. Furthermore he met Albert M. Bender, a San Francisco insurance magnate, and a supporter of the arts and artists. He helped Ansel publish his portfolio the next day. In 1927 Ansel met Edward Weston, and they became increasingly important to each other. In the 1930's Adam's popularity rose immensly. He had an immense ammount of energy and motivation and would often work for long periods of time, and then would go to San Frisco and rest for a week or so. It was said that Ansel was very fond of Alchohol and was a great partier. Ansel Adams was a strong activist for nature and the conservation of wildlife. ansel-adams-yosemite.jpg Most of his photography was inspired by his love of nature. He had a passion for photography and his love of nature drove him to create beautiful masterpieces of photography to capture the stunning magnificence that can be captured if you look closely in nature. He used his creativeness to let people see what he sees, to look through the eyes of Ansel Adams.

"The world of music was an immediate contrast to my undisciplined life and unsuccessful performance in school."
Ansel Adams was very hyperactive in his childhood. He was frequently found wandering the sand dunes in San Francisco or exploring outside. Ansel loved being in nature at an early age. In 1906 Ansel fell and broke his nose due to an aftershock of an earthquake. When he broke his nose, it deformed his facial features causing him to be very self conscious during elementary and middle school. Ansel kept to himself and liked being alone. Ansel did very poor in school during his elementary and middle school years. He received a "diploma" after finishing the equivalent of an 8th grade education. Ansel began studying music and this provided structure and discipline in his rather unstructured child and teen-hood. Through the transitive property music was essentially the reason for his success in photography. The diligence and work ethic Ansel showed in his photography work was because of his previous structure and work ethic originating by the study of music. Music provided a strong foundation for Ansel to begin his photography work.

"It was my first inquiry into the complex structure of image formation. My father explained it and i then grasped the theory of the camera lens and why the picture was upside down on the film."
Ansel Adams had a very curious nature as a child. He wandered around in nature to try to satisfy his curiosity of the world and things around him. When Ansel was sick in bed with measles he lay in his bed sick with the shade drawn down. The small pinholes served as a mock camera lens creating a simulation of a camera obscura. Ansel summoned his father and his father explained this phenomenon known as camera obscura with a hands on lesson. His father used his Kodak Bullseye camera and created a camera obscura for Ansel to see. This was Ansel's first inquiry about photography and stirred an interest about photography in him to be uncovered later in his life.
"I became hopelessly enthralled with the descriptions and illustrations of Yosemite and the romance and adventure of the cowboys and Indians."
When Ansel came down with a cold in April 1916 his aunt Mary have him a copy of In the Heart of the Sierras by J. M. Hutchings Ansel became fascinated with the illustrations of Yosemite. The natural beauty and the "ghosts" of cowboys and the wild west. Ansel's fascination with Yosemite can be seen in many of his prints. Ansel captured the basic elements of the earth and the natural beauty that can be found looking through the lens of a camera.

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment."
This quote straight from Ansel Adams expresses his feelings towards nature and particularly Yosemite. From his adventures outdoors as a child to his photographic explorations in Yosemite, Ansel was always environmentally conscious. His passion for the sustainment of the environment can be found in most of his photography.

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed."

This quote also from Ansel Adams shows the perplexity of his thoughts and the raw genius that embodied all of his photographs. Ansel was a genius of photography, he looked at life through a camera lens. He manipulated things to reveal their beauty. Some of his photographs made beautiful things look better, and others manipulated non beautiful things to look beautiful. Ansel Adams was a true master of photography.

"The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance."
This last quotation shows how music and photography played a huge role in his life. Ansel loved both photography and music but he had to choose one to pursue and to pour his heart into. Music was the origin for Ansel's photography the music provided structure in his rather hectic life but music was not enough. Music was artistic but was limited in the expression of ones true feelings. Ansel had to express himself and his feelings through a camera lens.

Works Cited

Turnage, William. "Biography of Ansel Adams". The ansel adams gallery. November 20, 2009
Antiques & Collecting Magazine. Chicago: Jul 2009. Vol. 114, Iss. 5; pg. 11, 1 pgs
Financial Times. London (UK): Feb 21, 2009. pg. 8

<>., Ansel, and Mary Street Alinder. Ansel Adams an Autobiography. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1985.