Filed under
Ansel Adams, American ( 1902-1984 )
Ansel Adams - El Capitan, Winter, Yosemite National Park, California
Ansel Adams
El Capitan, Winter, Yosemite National Park, California
Silver Gelatin Photograph
1948, printed 1960s
9 1/8 x 7 inches

Signed in ink on the mount; title, number '131 of S.E.Y. No. 17' in ink and 'Special Edition' credit stamp on the mount verso

View Ansel Adams "El Capitan, Winter, Yosemite National Park, California" photo
View Ansel Adams "Moth and Stump, Interglacial Forest" photograph
View Ansel Adams "Oak Tree, Winter, Yosemite Valley" photograph

Beginning his photographic career as a boy at the age of 14, Ansel Adams took his first photograph on visiting Yosemite Valley. Using a gift from his father, a Kodak 1 Brownie camera, Adams would begin to create pictures that rejoiced in the monumental grandeur of the American landscape. Positioned in a humbling tone against the emotive and glorious magnitude of his geographical subjects, Adams remarkable compositions, tonal contrasts, registration of detail, and printing quality, changed the history of photography.

Ansel Adam’s landscape photography stems from his fondness for the natural environment and his consideration of it as spiritually redemptive. In the early 20th century, exploitation of the environment intensified, and Adam’s photography served as a way to conserve the majestic landscape. Initially trained as a pianist, Adams created remarkable photographs in the 1920’s, but after meeting Paul Strand in 1930, in Taos, New Mexico and after seeing his negatives, Adams devoted his full commitment to the photographic discipline.
“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.”

With an educational background as a classically trained pianist, Ansel Adam’s photographic process echoed the studious regiment and technical proficiency of a professional musician, opting for methodical control from the shutter click to the printing of a photo. Adams contends that none of his images are realistic concerning the value scale, he expresses the requirement that the photograph must first be visualized in concept before taking the shot.
“(on great photographers) They saw very clearly in their mind's eye, in other words, they visualize the image before they made the photograph. Then, the technique or craft is simply applied as required.”

Ansel Adams created a legacy most notable for his landscapes of the American West, changing and influencing the direction of photography for decades to come. A colossal figure in the history of photography, he was a founding member of the anti-pictorialist f.64 Group and also released technical publications including The Complete Photographer (1942) and a five-volume series (1948 – 56) on Camera and Lens, The Negative, The Print, Natural Light Photography, and Artificial Light Photography.