Ansel Adams is most known for his scenic photography of the American West. He’s known for using his photographs to promote conservation of the wilderness. He’s an icon in the photography world for his black and white images.
Adams was born on February 20, 1902, in San Francisco, California. He broke his nose and was injured in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
Adams made a trip in 1916 to Yosemite National Park where his love of photography was born. He began experimenting with darkroom techniques and reading photography magazines. He sold some of these photographs at Best’s Studio in Yosemite Valley.
He actually married the daughter of Best’s Studio proprietor, Virginia Best, in 1928. After her father’s death, the couple continued to operate the studio. It is now known as the Ansel Adams Gallery.
Adams broke through the world of photography into fame with his publication of his first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras. This included one of his most famous images,“Monolith, the Face of Half Dome.”
From here, Adams focuses on detailed close-ups of nature. He photographed everything from farms, mountains, and factories. He studied with artists like Georgia O’Keefe and Paul Strand. He published photography art books about his work.
He joined other artists/photographers Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange using his fame to bring social change through art. He worked to protect the wilderness areas like Yosemite National Park. He also photographed life in camps during World War II. One of his most iconic shots was titled, “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.” This was a shot of a moon rising over a village weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He made over 1,000 prints of this at the time skyrocketing him into fame in the photography and art world.
The 1960s brought the appreciation of art photography to life. Adams’ images were shown in many galleries and museums throughout the world. Adams printed negatives of his artwork to meet the high demand for his black and white works of art.
Adams died on April 22, 1984, of a heart attack, at age 82. Adams is a photography icon whose work lives on in his beautiful nature prints.