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  1. #11
    Loose Gravel's Avatar
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    AA was in the right place at the right time. He had time, had some money, married into an art gallery in Yosemite, had ambition, was a good teacher, and in his later years had good promotion and publicity. He didn't really become famous ("special"(?)) until after he quit making photographs. I hear he is pumping gas somewhere in Montana now. RIP
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  2. #12
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    There often seems to be an iconic figure in every discipline whose name becomes a household word and who represents the art form. Often, it's because their work is exceptional for its' innovation or for its' singular skill in execution. But, sometimes it's because, though they're really good at what they do, they're even better at getting attention for it.

    It might be fun to play a game of first associations. Who is the first you think of when asked to name a painter, a classical violinist, cellist, pianist or conductor? Who epitomizes iconic status as a jazz musician, band leader, vocalist etc.

    The point is that there is probably just one name that comes to mind first for whatever reason, and in 'art' photography, it seems to be AA. On the other hand, when one is significantly involved in an interest of any kind, such simple, one person icons are not likely to be regarded with such singularity.
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  3. #13
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    My first reaction is: style.
    To me, AA had an instantly recognizable style that most people could recognize after seeing a couple of his works. "Thats an Ansel Adams photograph." To draw a bad analogy, AA is a Steinway piano or a Dusenberg (sp?) car. Superb quality and a mass recognized name brand.
    Just my $0.02, oh and my favorite of his photographs is the Golden Gate shot before the bridge.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by athanasius80 View Post
    My first reaction is: style.
    To me, AA had an instantly recognizable style that most people could recognize after seeing a couple of his works. "Thats an Ansel Adams photograph." To draw a bad analogy, AA is a Steinway piano or a Dusenberg (sp?) car. Superb quality and a mass recognized name brand.
    Just my $0.02, oh and my favorite of his photographs is the Golden Gate shot before the bridge.
    I may be speaking heresy, but I have never been a big fan of his work. What he did, though, was create some fantastic systems, and through the f64 group, produces some incredibly sharp 8x10's - those prints are technical marvels that really are amazing for the detail and sense of space. Posters and enlargements don't have the same impact - the print has to be seen to believed!

    A lot of folks absolutely love the subject matter, which is where I differ. I mentioned before that I was warped! Now you know why!!

    (Oh, and I think he was probably one of the most important photographers, ever)
    Last edited by Bromo33333; 10-29-2006 at 08:23 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Clarification.
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  5. #15
    Chazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bromo33333 View Post
    I may be speaking heresy, but I have never been a big fan of his work. What he did, though, was create some fantastic systems, and through the f64 group, produces some incredibly sharp 8x10's - those prints are technical marvels that really are amazing for the detail and sense of space. Posters and enlargements don't have the same impact - the print has to be seen to believed!
    But who cares about seeing one picture after another of the same heroic trees and heroic rocks in excruciating detail? Weston called it the "ain't nature grand" approach, and I agree--Adams' later work bores me to tears.

    What surprised me was to see some of his earlier work which was not locked into that style and which exhibited much more flexibility and human interest. That Ansel Adams I could learn to like, even if he was a dogmatic modernist.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chazzy View Post
    But who cares about seeing one picture after another of the same heroic trees and heroic rocks in excruciating detail? Weston called it the "ain't nature grand" approach, and I agree--Adams' later work bores me to tears.

    What surprised me was to see some of his earlier work which was not locked into that style and which exhibited much more flexibility and human interest. That Ansel Adams I could learn to like, even if he was a dogmatic modernist.
    I regard Adams documentary work highly, and it is another thing the general public is also completely unaware of.

    But the question I pose isn't if you personally find his work interesting or not, but why he is the one instantly recognized and recalled photographer across the board by the public at large? Did he work hard at it, or was he just lucky? (or possibly unlucky depending on how you view fame)

  7. #17
    Bromo33333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner View Post
    I regard Adams documentary work highly, and it is another thing the general public is also completely unaware of.

    But the question I pose isn't if you personally find his work interesting or not, but why he is the one instantly recognized and recalled photographer across the board by the public at large? Did he work hard at it, or was he just lucky? (or possibly unlucky depending on how you view fame)
    It is reproduced as posters a LOT, so it is likely that those photos are what people saw a lot. It is really accessable as well - as another poster said it is an "ain't nature grand" theme - which sells well as photos, and also as painting.

    He also has some excellent books - and obviously is liberal with the licensing which helps get his stuff out there.
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  8. #18

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    Where do you start?

    His love for his family, his humbleness, attention to details, the quality in his prints, the sensitivity of his eyes to tones, his mastery and love of the craft, his skill, his vision and the list could go on forever.

    There is much more to the man than his photogarphs.

    He was truly a genius...

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner View Post
    IDid he work hard at it, or was he just lucky? (or possibly unlucky depending on how you view fame)

    You don’t become a master printer by getting lucky. The man knew his craft inside and out. He was a highly trained individual who used his background as a musician to perfect his imagery. Lucky? Not even,

    Hard work and dedication? Absolutely

    If you mean lucky by his fortune and fame I still think he worked at it. I cant remember the person that really pushed his images and helped crate his wealth for him , but I still feel Adams worked hard for everything he had.

  10. #20
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bromo33333 View Post
    It is reproduced as posters a LOT, so it is likely that those photos are what people saw a lot. It is really accessable as well - as another poster said it is an "ain't nature grand" theme - which sells well as photos, and also as painting.

    He also has some excellent books - and obviously is liberal with the licensing which helps get his stuff out there.
    Yes, but what came first, the chicken or the egg? Are his prints popular as posters because he was AA or is he AA because the posters and other derivatives are so popular?

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