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Ansel Adams

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Ansel Adams Biography

Born San Francisco, CA (USA) 1902 Died Carmel, CA (USA) 1984

Ansel Adams, Photographer, conservationist; born in San Francisco. A commercial photographer for 30 years, he made visionary photos of western landscapes that were inspired by a boyhood trip to Yosemite. Ansel Adams won three Guggenheim grants to photograph the national parks (1944-58). Founding the f/64 group with Edward Weston in 1932, Adams developed zone exposure to get maximum tonal range from black-and-white film. The zone system is a technique which allows photographers to translate the light they see into specific densities on negatives and paper, thus giving them better control over finished photographs.

He served on the Sierra Club Board (1934-71).

Ansel Adams Wilderness is a wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada of California,USA. The wilderness is part of the Inyo and Sierra National Forests. The wilderness was established as part of the original Wilderness Act in 1964 (originally named the Minarets Wilderness). In 1984, after his death, the area was expanded and renamed in honor of Ansel Adams, well-known nature photographer who is famous for his landscape photographs of the Sierra Nevada.

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  • 1916 - Takes pictures with his very first camera on a family trip to Yosemite National Park. He would return to Yosemite every year for the rest of his life.
  • 1917 - Works at a Photo-finishing business.
  • 1927 - Takes the photo Monolith, The Face of Half Dome. Publishes first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras.
  • 1930 - Becomes completely dedicated to photography after meeting photographer Paul Strand.
  • 1931 - Has an exhibition of 60 prints at the Smithsonian Institution.
  • 1932 - Co-founder of photography group, "f/64".
  • 1935 - Publishes Making a Photograph: An Introduction to Photography.
  • 1940 - Helps found Department of Photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art.
  • 1946 - Recieves Guggenheim Fellowship to photograph national parks.
  • 1948 - Guggenheim fellowship renewed. Publishes Photo Series I: Camera and Lens and 2: The Negative. Also publishes Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, and issues Portfolio I.
  • 1952 - Ansel Adams was one of the founders of the magazine Aperture.
  • 1954 - Publishes Death Valley, Mission San Xavier del Bac, and The Pageant of History in Northern California.
  • 1959 - Publishes Yosemite Valley.
  • 1962 - Publishes Death Valley and the Creek Called Furnace and These We Inherit: The Parklands of America.
  • 1970 - Publishes The Tetons and the Yellowstone.
  • 1980 - Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Carter.
  • 1984 - Wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada of California renamed in honor of Ansel Adams.

Select Exhibitions

Notable Photgraphs

  • Monolith, The Face of Half Dome, 1927.
  • Rose and Driftwood, 1932.
  • Clearing Winter Storm, 1940.
  • Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941.
  • Ice on Ellery Lake, Sierra Nevada, 1941.
  • Georgia O'Keeffe and Orville Cox at Canyon de Chelly
  • Aspens, New Mexico, 1958.

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