Ansel Adams

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Ansel Adams and camera.

Ansel Adams (February 20 1902April 22 1984) was an American fine art photographer most famous for his wilderness landscapes.

Sourced[edit]

  • A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.
    • "A Personal Credo" (1943), published in American Annual of Photography (1944), reprinted in Nathan Lyons, editor, Photographers on Photography (1966), reprinted in Vicki Goldberg, editor, Photography in Print: Writings from 1816 to the Present (1988)
  • I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term — meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching — there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.
    • "A Personal Credo" (1943), published in American Annual of Photography (1944), reprinted in Nathan Lyons, editor, Photographers on Photography (1966), reprinted in Vicki Goldberg, editor, Photography in Print: Writings from 1816 to the Present (1988)
  • The herculean task of a photographer is to capture a momentary frame as beautiful in reality, as it would be in a dream.
  • For me the future of the image is going to be in electronic form. ... You will see perfectly beautiful images on an electronic screen. And I'd say that would be very handsome. They would be almost as close as the best reproductions.
    • Interview with Paul Hill (March 1975), published in P. Hill & T.J. Cooper (1979), Dialogue with Photography
  • I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them.
    • The Negative (1981), introduction to second edition
  • When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
    • Attributed to Adams in: AB bookman's weekly: for the specialist book world. (1985) Vol 76, Nr. 19-27; p. 3326
  • There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.
    • Attributed to Adams in E.T. Schoch (2002), The Everything Digital Photography Book (2002) p. 105
  • It is horrifying that we have to fight our own Government to save the environment.
  • If what I see in my mind excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph.
  • I would never apologize for photographing rocks. Rocks can be very beautiful. But, yes, people have asked why I don’t put people into my pictures of the natural scene. I respond, “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” That usually doesn’t go over at all.
  • Yes, in the sense that the negative is like the composer’s score. Then, using that musical analogy, the print is the performance. (Paraphrased as "Film is the score and the print is the performance.")

Ansel Adams: An Autobiography (1985)[edit]

No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied — it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.
  • No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied — it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.
  • The only things in my life that compatibly exist with this grand universe are the creative works of the human spirit.

About Ansel Adams[edit]

  • At one with the power of the American landscape, and renowned for the patient skill and timeless beauty of his work, photographer Ansel Adams has been visionary in his efforts to preserve this country's wild and scenic areas, both in film and on Earth. Drawn to the beauty of nature's monuments, he is regarded by environmentalists as a monument himself, and by photographers as a national institution. It is through his foresight and fortitude that so much of America has been saved for future Americans.
  • His attacks on Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, have received so much attention that Watt was asked about the 'thunderous denunciations of his policies by Ansel Adams.' Watt replied with a shrug, 'Ansel Adams never took a picture with a human being in it in his life.' Adams’ friend photographer James Alinder responded, 'James Watt is no better historian of photography than Secretary of the Interior. Ansel Adams has not only made pictures of people, but his portraits form a major part of his photographic production.' In fact, the Carter Administration broke with tradition by having the Presidential portrait done not by a painter but by a photographer—Adams. Although the break with tradition was highly criticized, the Polaroid photo now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.
    • David Sheff, A candid conversation with America’s “photographer laureate” and environmentalist about art, natural beauty and the unnatural acts of Interior Secretary James Watt; March 1983.(See: David Sheff Interview)

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