Ansel Adams Prints

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Ansel Adams' prints (American, 1902-1984) reflect a life dedicated to the perfection of natural photography and meticulous technique. Considered one of the greatest American photographers, Ansel Adams was a dedicated conservationist and spent the majority of his life and work capturing the pristine beauty of the American West.

Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco, California and was a trained concert pianist by the time he was in his mid-twenties. At the age of 24 he made his first trip into California's High Sierra Mountains and took his first photographs of the region. By the time he was 28, he had turned completely from professional music and devoted himself exclusively to photography.

Ansel Adams' Prints: Stylistically Simple, Dramatically Complex

Ansel Adams' works show an early style dedicated to pictorial style photography. However, by 1930 he had switched styles completely, and his work begins to reflect a growing dedication to clean, sharp focus. Along with other famous photographers like Edward Weston and Willard van Dyke, he formed the Group f/64.

Followers of "pictorial" style felt that photographs needed to follow the styles of paintings, and utilized soft focus and considerable manipulation in the darkroom. Group f/64, on the other hand, had a mandate to prove that pure photography was as artistic a medium as oil or acrylic. Technically, they achieved this by choosing the lowest aperture (f64) on a wide format camera, which resulted in clear focus and maximum tonal range from foreground to background. Group f/64 created the best photography on record of the American West. Ansel Adams prints are perfect examples of this artistic style, and show the natural landscape in all its dramatic honesty.


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