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  1. #1

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    Discussing a Ansel Adams photograph (some photographic "comfort food")

    Ok. With the recent events reminding us of the troubled times we live in I thought I would post some "comfort food" for your consideration and discussion. Someone had to post him eventually. Just as well be me.

    What can you say about Ansel? If I would hazard a guess, probably 75% of the photographers I have ever met or read about in various mags over the years credit Ansel as their inspriation to become serious photographers. I know when I saw his work in person over 20 years ago I went out and bought a used 4x5 about a week later.

    This is one of my favorite Adams images. Mt. Williamson. The composition is great, the geometry of the boulders, the mountains, the shafts of light along with the clouds, the depth of field and all that fantasitic simple desolation.

    While his images are icons to many, I wonder though, does Adams hold any relevance to young photographers today?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails mtwilliamson_450.jpg  
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  2. #2

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    It certainly makes you realise how bound photography is by the artificiality of perpectivism!

    (question - how do we break out of that?)

  3. #3

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    btw - I like Lee Friedlanders take on it


  4. #4
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Ansel Adams is of course a solid gold legend. I have often wondered if it would be more accurate to describe him as the world's greatest advertising photographer, "selling" conservation and the National Parks idea. I think AA's style is so pervasive that any contemporary landscape worker must make every effort possible to do something different. Apparently Edward Weston referred to AA's work as the "Ain't nature grand!" style. No denying AAs' craftsmanship and colossal reputation though - I have an AA calendar on my wall and regularly give them as presents to friends, and I have AA's three books "The Camera," "The Negative" and "The Print" on my shelf. What more can you say?

  5. #5
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Ahhh, one that I have seen first-hand.

    My feelings on this one is that it is as near perfection as a landscape photograph gets. Everything about it is just right. The geometry, the lighting, but especially the lighting. How many of us would try a back-lit shot like this and pull it off so well? It goes against practical convention and is tricky to do, never mind do so well.

    I'm like David, I have the Adams Triad on my shelf and still refer to them regularly.

    As far as relevancy to the young generation, not too many get out into the wild and appreciate the beauty of our land, in my observations. I have seen that its not fashionable (hence "cool") while Ansel bashing is cool. Not all do this. There are some young APUG members that appreciate Adams and his work. My own kids get perterbed at me because I like to get off the Interstate and see what's on the regular roads. I keep telling them they have no eyes.

    Adams fully appreciated what he was photographing.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley
    As far as relevancy to the young generation, not too many get out into the wild and appreciate the beauty of our land, in my observations. I have seen that its not fashionable (hence "cool") while Ansel bashing is cool. Not all do this. There are some young APUG members that appreciate Adams and his work.
    Though there are also some who do get out into the wild and who also reject Adam's aesthetic

  7. #7

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    I am a young(ish) photographer, realist and nature lover. I do think his images are relevant as what he photographed was actually there,albeit interpreted. Whilst I understand that some might not connect with his vision and find it 'nourishing', I cannot understand how anyone would 'reject it' as it represents a reality if only a transient one. There is for me an inherent sadness in many of his images as we all know that much of what he photographed has changed or at least its context has, due to encroachment.

    Whilst Ansel was undoubtedly clever he was not trying to be 'clever'. There is nothing smarmy or pretentious about what he did as to do so would go against his objectives. He was an honest grafter and those who bash him IMO fail to understand what he was actually trying to do, whether they 'like it' or not.

    I have huge admiration and respect for what he did and why he did it. This and my own love of the outdoors gives me a rush when I see (some of) his images. It need have nothing to do with photography but emotions more primeval than that.

  8. #8

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    "".
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  9. #9
    John Bragg's Avatar
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    This is such a near perfect landscape that the depth of field and the lighting would make the digital imagers of this world wonder just how it was manipulated in photoshop ? And it was all done in a wet darkroom !!!!! AWESOME !!

  10. #10

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    A bit off-topic but still AA related;
    A few years ago, I had an AA calendar on the wall of my cube at work, one of my colleagues stopped by, looked at the picture for a few moments, then said, "nice picture, too bad it's not in color".
    As for the picture at the top of the thread, color would ruin it, in my opinion.

    As for PS, depth of field is one "manipulation", if you want to call it that, that pretty much cannot be done in photoshop, it's got to happen in the camera. Though the short lenses that most digi's use lend themselves to lots of (apparent) depth of field.

    Cheers

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