Ansel Adams: Photographs

Front Cover
Wings Books, 1992 - Photography, Artistic. - 44 pages
4 Reviews
Ansel Adams is best known for a series of photographs he produced of America's natural heritage known collectively as the National Park Service Photographs, representative examples of which are reproduced here. This assignment was especially commissioned in 1941 by Harold Ickes of the United States Department of the Interior and the aim was to record for posterity areas that had been designated national parks, as well as portraying the Native American homelands and other monuments and areas of reclamation of the great American wilderness. These would also be used as photo-murals to decorate the walls of the Department of the Interior. Ickes was already familiar with Ansel's work having seen detailed studies of leaves and ferns which featured in an exhibition of 1936. Indeed, he liked them so much that he hung one in his own office. He eventually made Ansel's acquaintance when the photographer came to lobby Congress, seeking to have Kings River Canyon, California designated a national park.
Originally, only painted murals by established artists were thought suitable for inclusion in the Mural Project, as it came to be known, as photography had yet to be considered worthy of being regarded as an art form, rather than a way of recording or documenting reality; but Ickes was convinced that Ansel's work was artistically valid and would make its own inimitable contribution to the scheme.
The collection of works commissioned in 1941 was intermixed with earlier studies of the Kings Canyon area dating back to 1936, and these and the new prints were offered as part of the commission. The photographs are a pictorial testament to the majesty of the American West, captured with technical accuracy and imbued with sheer inventiveness and a deep empathy for the regions which Ansel sought to protect and maintain intact. They range from rivers and canyons, close-ups of plant life, Native American villages and their inhabitants, the mysterious and enigmatic underworld of the Carlsbad Caverns and the geysers and twisted forms of Yellowstone National Park. Together, they offer a visual feast and a source of delight and nourishment for the spirit.

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User Review  - thoughts4jodi - Overstock.com

I purchased the Ansel Adams 400 Photographs book along with several other books. I was so thrilled with the other books I did not realize Ansel Adams was missing from the shipment. As always if ever I ... Read full review

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User Review  - AlexTheHunn - LibraryThing

How can one criticize a Adams's photos? The only real complaint in a compilation of his art is that it is not complete and exhaustive. Still, this book is a fine sampling of his photos. Read full review

Contents

Section 1
33
Section 2
35
Section 3
37
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Ansel Easton Adams born on February 20, 1902 in San Francisco, California. In 1915 his father removed him from school and he was home-schooled in Greek, the English classics, algebra, and the nature that surrounded their home. His father also bought him a season pass to the Panama-Pacific Exposition, which he visited nearly every day. In 1916 the Adams family visited Yosemite National Park, where Adams was given his first camera. At this point in his life, Adams had planned to become a concert pianist, but he soon discovers the joys of photography. Adams' first acknowledged picture appears in 1927. In 1932, he formed the f/64 group with Edward Veston, with whom he goes on to teach his first workshop with at Yosemite, called the U. S. Camera Photogrpahic Forum. Adams began serving on the Board of the Sierra Club in 1932, a position he held until 1971. In March of 1933, Adams met Alfred Stieglitz, owner of An American Place photo gallery. Stieglitz was so impressed with Adams work that he held an exhibition for Adams in 1936. In 1943, Adams sought to contribute to the war effort by recording the lives of the American-born citizens of Japanese descent who were interned in the Manzanar War Relocation Camp. In 1949 Adams tested Polaroid cameras for Edwin Land, In 1953, Adams collaborated with Dorothea Lange on a Life commission for a photo essay on the Mormons in Utah. In 1967, he was instrumental in the foundation of the Friends of Photography. Adams was a commercial photographer for 30 years, within which he won three Guggenheim grants to photograph the national parks. In 1980, The Ansel Adams Conservation Award was established by the Wilderness Club, and Adams named as the first recipient. Ansel Adams died April 22 of heart failure aggravated by cancer.

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