Ansel Adams: From Concert Pianist to America’s Best Known Landscape Photographer

Ansel Adams at the Piano II , Carmel, 1982

Ansel Adams at the Piano II , Carmel, 1982

Ansel Adams is arguably the best known American landscape photographer. Not so well known is that he was a talented and classically trained concert pianist. Were it not for some interesting and seemingly random events in his life he could have spent his life on the concert stage.

Posted Feb. 24, 2017. Updated Dec. 15, 2017.

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Video: Yosemite and the Range of Light by Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams: Yosemite and the Range of Light.

Marc Silber interviews Michael Adams, son of Ansel Adams, in Ansel’s home and workroom/darkroom. They discuss Adams’ book Yosemite and the Range of Light. “The Range of Light” is the phrase John Muir used to describe the Sierra Nevada. Some video footage of Ansel Adams is included. Watch and learn.

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Video: Ansel Adams Printing in the Darkroom

THIS VIDEO IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. I WILL TRY AND FIND IT AT ANOTHER LINK.

A classically trained musician, Ansel Adams thought of his negatives as the score and his work in the darkroom as the performance. He would “interpret” his negatives differently, “dodging” and “burning” during the printing process to create a more dramatic image. In this short video you get to watch the master at work.

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Happy Birthday, Ansel Adams!

Ansel Adams, Monolith: The Face of Half Dome, 1927. Photographed in his home Dec. 2, 1980.

Ansel Adams in front of “Monolith: The Face of Half Dome, 1927”. Photographed in his home Dec. 2, 1980.

Ansel Adams was born February 20, 1902. He is “the” icon of American landscape photography. Trained as a concert pianist, his love of photography and time spent in Yosemite National Park led him to a career change.

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How To Work With A Model When The Windchill is 4°

Selina

Selina, Downtown Columbus, Ohio.

You would think a windchill of 4° Fahrenheit (-16°C) would be too cold for a photo shoot, but not with some models. We booked this January shoot weeks in advance so we knew it would be cold, but we had no idea how cold until the day arrived. Here’s the story behind this image and how to work with a model when it is so cold.

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Chip East Reflects on his Friend, Bill Biggart’s Last Photos from 9/11

Photographer Chip East was staring intensely at his laptop screen.

It was two weeks after two jetliners had plowed into the towers of the World Trade Center. His good friend, photojournalist Bill Biggart’s body had been recovered from the rubble. His personal effects, including his cameras had been released by authorities to his widow, Wendy.

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A Tribute to Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham on the streets of NYC. Click for a larger version.

Bill Cunningham is one of my photographic heroes so it was a sad moment when I learned of his passing. My wife and I were driving across the U.S. early this week when she found an article on her iPhone that Bill Cunningham had died. I made a mental note to write a tribute to Bill when we got back home.

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Dewitt Jones: Celebrate What’s Right with the World!

CWR Website The Film from Shervin Communications on Vimeo.

Life (and great photography) is about inspiration as much as it is about information. Whatever it is that moves you to do things is just as important as knowing how to do it. If you aren’t inspired, all the information in the world won’t help you very much. But if you are sufficiently inspired, you will move heaven and earth to find the information you need. It is about vision! This 22 minute video is about finding the kind of vision that inspires your life and your photography.

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Remembering Leonard Nimoy, The Photographer

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

We all knew Leonard Nimoy as an actor, but in the art world he was also known as an accomplished photographer. He will be missed.

His best known photography exhibition, “Shekhina”, has been highly praised (links below). The exhibit has also been controversial due to the nude imagery so be advised before you click the link to read further down the page.

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Ansel Adams At His Best

Book Search at Amazon.com

Book Search at Amazon.com

I walked into Half Price Books and found Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs. The book itself is a real treasure. 400 hundred photos, one per page, with reproduction values as good as you are likely to find anywhere. The hardcover book, new, was selling for  $19.95. That sounded like a great price to me.

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W. Eugene Smith, “Tomoko in Her Bath”

“What are your favorite memorable photos?” That’s the question I was asked by one of my friends yesterday. This is one of the images that moves me deeply (click on the photo to see a larger version). The expression of love and tenderness on the mother’s face as she bathes her 16 year old daughter. The daughter’s face and body showing the ravages of Minamata Disease. The play of light and shadow. To my eyes this is a stunning image, even if you know nothing about the story behind this photo. It is clear why many photographers consider W. Eugene Smith to be one of the best photojournalists of the 20th century.

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