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  1. #1
    Rafal Lukawiecki's Avatar
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    Ansel Adams at 111

    Today would have been Ansel Adams 111th birthday. I think he is even more relevant today than ever. He has managed to live a full life during which he focused on what mattered to him, while avoiding the entrapments of wealth, and staying away from poverty. There is much one can learn from his example, and I have just written a short blog post, http://rafal.net/?p=1463, as a way of saying a "thank you" to this amazing man.

    Happy Birthday, Ansel!
    Rafal Lukawiecki
    See rafal.net | Read rafal.net/articles

  2. #2

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    Eleventy one! Still need to see the London show.
    'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde

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    That was great!

    Jeff

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    I think Ansel was my earliest introduction to photography. My folks had a large coffee table book with a few of his images that I would look at for hours. For years I remember wanting to take pictures just like his. I know now that there are many other photographers who produced awesome work, but he still has a special attraction for me. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. #5
    mjs
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    I picked up Andrea Stillman's book "Looking at Ansel Adams" this past weekend and have been reading it. In my opinion, it's a worthwhile addition to the works about Adams.

    Mike
    Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming– “Wow! What a Ride!”

    — Hunter S. Thompson

  6. #6
    AgX
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    Maybe it's just me, but my impression is that Ansel Adams was quite unknown to most photographers over here and just got more publicity due to the internet. I can't remember having seen his books at a public library either.

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    Beautifully expressed...well done!

  8. #8

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    He was The Master. His combination of artistic ability and technical knowledge was just off-the-scale ridiculous. For me, the defining bit of Adams on Adams is in his book The Negative, Figure 6-2 on pages 126-127 (in the edition I have, anyway), where he describes the making of Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. In the very lengthy caption to this figure, he explains how he knew off the top of his head the luminance of the Moon (at the particular position it was at that moment) in absolute units of candles per square foot, and computed an exposure in his head, and remembered to include a filter factor. Mind you, all this after scurrying frantically to set up this shot with a cumbersome 8x10 before the scene changed, and exchanging the front and back elements on his Cooke lens, and dialing in a focus-shift adjustment. I read all that and just thought "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING. How does one ever match that!?!?!" It sounds like a minor miracle to have got a shot fired off at all, never mind well composed, yet he did it all flawlessly and ended up with this absolutely epic, famous, incomparable picture. Bow to the master...

    --Dave

  9. #9

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    I live near Yosemite and make my way up several times a year, and I shoot there a lot. But I always stop at the Ansel Adams Gallery, because there are usually at least two of his prints for view and sale. They are the most amazing things, they practically glow off the wall. Seeing these works in person is very important to me, it reminds me that photography is not as mundane as it can seem in our over-exposed world. When you see the real thing, all photography becomes special again, and the possibility of someday making something that beautiful is enough to make me want to keep learning, keep shooting, keep trying to get better. I know there are others who have this impact, but Ansel has left us with an incredible legacy of beauty, and he backed it up by trying to pass along knowledge as well. And when you walk out of that gallery and look to your right and see Yosemite Falls, and to your left and see Half Dome, you get a chilling sense of his appreciation for both nature and the way we humans lovingly portray it.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by whowantstoast View Post
    I live near Yosemite and make my way up several times a year, and I shoot there a lot. But I always stop at the Ansel Adams Gallery, because there are usually at least two of his prints for view and sale. They are the most amazing things, they practically glow off the wall. Seeing these works in person is very important to me, it reminds me that photography is not as mundane as it can seem in our over-exposed world. When you see the real thing, all photography becomes special again, and the possibility of someday making something that beautiful is enough to make me want to keep learning, keep shooting, keep trying to get better. I know there are others who have this impact, but Ansel has left us with an incredible legacy of beauty, and he backed it up by trying to pass along knowledge as well. And when you walk out of that gallery and look to your right and see Yosemite Falls, and to your left and see Half Dome, you get a chilling sense of his appreciation for both nature and the way we humans lovingly portray it.
    Great comment. It's fashionable to be snooty about Ansel, especially for those immersed in one dimensional objectivity. It's as if, for some critically engaged photographers, appreciating Ansel Adams is akin to cognitive dissonance. I spend time with a variety of classic and contemporary work - I don't belong to either tribe. I always go back to Ansel at some point, who provided the foundation for beauty in photography. There's not only room for more beauty in contemporary work, but arguably a great need for it. It doesn't have to be saccharine or new age - that's where your intelligence comes in.
    'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde

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