Monday, January 21, 2008

Ansel Adams, the grand old man of photography

Ansel Adams was a man who truly used light to create some of the most beautiful, memorable, and recognisable photographs ever. The impact he had on the photographic community was immense - to say that he changed photography forever would not be just hyperbole.

He photographed the beauty of nature so amazingly that he is forever linked with some of his favorite subjects, such as Yosemite. I love the views he captured. Many people have been brought to a greater appreciation of nature through his work.

Probably my favorite parts of his work are his understanding and use of natural form and line, and his amazing ability with light. The second is probably what he is most known for; many, if not most, of his photographs display the stunning contrast of the blackest blacks with the whitest whites. To look at an Ansel Adams photograph is to really see how light defines and delineates an object.

His use of line and composition is less thought of, but still to my mind an integral and beautiful part of his works. Some of my favorite pictures of his (like The Tetons - Snake River") - show a sinuous line contrasted with the sharp jaggy edges. All of his contours helped move the eye around the piece - like the LA Freeway shot to the left - or helped them settle on the picture and take in its tranquility, like "Autumn Moon"

If there's ever an Ansel Adams show near you, go see it! And until then, check out a book of his photographs at your local library.

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