(San Francisco, California, 1902 - 1984, Carmel, California)
Ansel Adams – known for his black and white landscapes of the American West - made a trek into Yosemite National Park with his first camera in the summer of 1916. It was here in the inspiring Sierra Nevada where Adams realized his interest in photography. Only formally schooled until the 8th grade, Adams would eventually become one of the world’s preeminent photographers.
During the Great Depression Adams frequently associated with Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, Georgia O’Keefe and Imogen Cunningham. Until 1936 the themes, subjects, styles, compositions and techniques of Adams’ photographs constantly fluctuated. It was not until his collaboration and friendship with Alfred Stieglitz, who exhibited Adam’s work at his famed gallery, ‘291’, that the artist found true direction. Adams is quoted as calling his earlier work “confused seeing” and he decided to dedicate himself to “make the photography as clean, as decisive, and as honest as possible.”
This change in direction is clearly reflected in Adams’ work from the 1940s. It is during this period when the most quintessential of Adams’ heroic landscapes were created. Following World War II, Adams concentrated mostly on photographic commissions, publishing books, printing and his involvement in the Sierra Club’s wildlife conservation efforts. In 1974 the first retrospective of Adams’ work was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He won numerous awards during his lifetime including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.