Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Artist/Picture Study - Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams (February 20, 1902- April 22, 1984) was an American environmentalist and landscape photographer. He was best known for his black-and-white images of the American West. 

According to Wikipedia, "Adams was a life-long advocate for environmental conservation, and his photographic practice was deeply entwined with this advocacy. At age 12, he was given his first camera during his first visit to Yosemite National Park. He developed his early photographic work as a member of the Sierra Club."

He helped found Group f/64 which is an association of photographers who like "pure" photography with the use of full tonal range and sharp focus in a photograph.  

Later in his life, the United States Department of the Interior contracted with Adams to make photographs of national parks. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980 for his persistent advocacy and work which helped expand the National Park system. 

He also was a key advisor in creating the Museum of Modern Art's photography department which secured photography's institutional legitimacy. Adams helped coordinate the photography department's first exhibition. 

In addition to his work in New York at MOMA, Adams co-founded the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona as well as helped found Aperture, a photography magazine. 

Olivia studied six of Ansel Adam's photographs in October 2020 and shared what she remembered about them. I forgot to post them at that time, so I'm doing that now...a year later. 

Frozen Lake and Cliffs, Sierra Nevada, Sequoia National Park, California, 1927

Olivia remembered:
- In the picture, you see some really big cliffs, but you don't see the top of them. 
- There's a lake in front of them. It almost looks like the water goes to the cliffside.
- There's snow at the bottom of the cliffs, and it looks like it also is sitting on the very small beach.
- There's ice with a little bit of snow sitting on top of the lake. 
- The way the snow is sitting on the beach, you can see the little ridges where it goes up and down. It kind of gives it a staircase kind of look.
- The cliff that is to the left of the snow is narrow at the bottom and gets wider at the top. The rocks at the top are kind of pointed like teeth, so it makes the rock pillar look like a tower. 
- The snow looks like it is going back into a canyon or an opening. 
- The cliffs look like they have been made into sea caves at the bottom.
- When you look at the lake, you can see the ice and snow on top. Because the water is black, it looks like you are looking at the ocean. When you look at an iceberg and water, you can't see everything, but you can see the line where the iceberg and water meets. You know that that the iceberg is bigger than what you see in the air - or above the water. 
- There's a part of the cliff that kind of sticks out in a triangle. One wall kind of goes in by the canyon. The other part of the wall is forming a sea cave. It reminds me of the funny building in New York that is in the shape of a triangle. 
- There's no color. You can see the blacks, whites, and grays. It shows the texture and definition. It gives depth perception. 
- It was a cool photo.
Woman Winnowing Grain, Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, 1929

Olivia remembered: 
- In the picture, there's a big pueblo and in the shadow of it on the left is a woman. On the right side, also in the shadow, is this big wooden structure. 
- The woman is dressed in a shapeless gown that has a rope tied around her waist. It kind of looks like a hospital gown, except it isn't open in the back. She's also wearing pants that look a bit long - like they are bunched up around her ankles or they are that way naturally.
- She has a big, long scarf tied around her head, and she is holding a metal bowl above her head. She's pouring the grain out on a piece of cloth or hide that is in the sun. 
- The pueblo is very big - it looks like there are multiple layers. There are many doors and windows. Some of the doors and windows have wooden frames around them.
- The window that is next to the woman has wooden shutters around it. 
- The ceilings or roofs of the pueblo look like they are made out of the same material - like clay or mud. They are tall or rounded at the top - like chimneys. They may also be pillars - shortish ones - on the roof. 
- There's a clothesline that's on one of the lines that is on the left, but you can't see where it is tied to. On it, is a little dress for a baby or a tiny, short young kind. It is white. 
- At the very top of the pueblo, is the wooden rafters. They are on the inside, but they stick out. There's some on the top level. 
- The wooden structure that's on the right is very tall and one of the support things going horizontal, looks like it has been shaped into a stake (it is pointy at the end). It also looks like there is a platform. It could be the structural beams for another pueblo. 
- There's also a wooden ladder made from trees, leaning on the rooftop of the pueblo.
- It looks like it is maybe the middle of the afternoon or the morning, where the sun is shining. Also, because the woman is putting the grain out, it would suggest that it is morning so the grain can dry throughout the day, when it is the hottest. 
- The ground looks very dusty, so it probably hasn't rained for a bit. 
- The woman's clothes, if it wasn't black and white, look like they would be colorful and light-colored. 

Lake Near Muir Pass, Kings Canyon National Park, 1934

Olivia remembered:
- In the picture, there is a lake and a shoreline. The shoreline is reflected into the water giving it an appearance that the shore is bigger than it actually is.
- There are some mountains and cliffs. It looks like it could be early Winter or early Spring.
- It appears the first part of the shore (where it is lighter and more snow) looks like a ridge. Then there's a hill and cliffs behind it. 
- The area kind of looks like it could be an old site for a volcano. It is very also looks like it could be a gravel pit. 
- In the lake, it looks like it might be a reflection, but you can't see where it is reflecting from. It makes it look like there are big rocks in the water. 
- It kind of has the same texture as the mountain and cliffs - lots of smaller crevices and cracks in it. 
- The way the shore is reflecting on the lake, it makes it look like there are ducks on the lake. 
- Looking at the light of the picture, it looks like it was taken in the middle of the afternoon - so like now (it's 2:05 p.m. on October 7th).
- It doesn't have any blacks. More like dark grays to white for the snow. 
- One of the patches of the snow is in the middle of the shore. It kind of looks like it is in the shape of a "T." 
- It kind of looks like it could be another planet - it looks so barren. There are no trees. You don't see any sign of life. It could be Mars. 
- In the water, with the rocks, some of them kind of rise up a bit. Because there isn't a gradual incline, it kind of looks like an underwater cliff. Kind of like if you stepped off the edge, it would just drop. 
- In the left corner, at the bottom, looks like there would be big, flat slabs of rock. They look very smooth, except for on the top.

Detail, Juniper Wood, Sierra Nevada, 1936

Olivia remembered:
- In the picture, there is a part of a tree. The tree looks like it is a dead tree. It's very bleached and the whitest part of it looks like it stems from a knot in the tree and goes up.
- It is kind of in the shape of a round-ended - kind of a bone, like where the joints connects, like on the femur and where it connects on the kneecap. There are not two points where it connects, though, just one.
- All along the tree are these ridges - maybe the bark that goes up. They are pretty straight. They look like they are fairly deep - either because of the light or because they are deep.
- There are a couple of spots where there are pieces of the wood sticking up or out. 
- You also see a couple of splinters - very think slivers of wood that are sticking out. They probably would give you a splinter. 
- There are a few cracks - small ones and big ones - that go along the ridges and along the white part of the wood.
- At the bottom of the rounded end, there are little pieces of white wood that looks like they were being chipped away - except they are still there.
- That area - the wood looks smooth and worn - like the elements have beaten it or someone sat on it a lot - compared to the rest of the wood where it is rough and natural-looking. 
- You can see a lot of texture in the photo because of the way the shadows fall. 
- The ridges look like they are perfectly straight or pretty close to being perfectly straight from going from the top to the bottom.
- There's really no black in the picture. It looks mostly dark gray to white. 

Roots, Foster Gardens, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1947

Olivia remembered:
- In the picture, there are a bunch of tree roots that look like they could be big boa constrictors or pythons. 
- The way that the tree roots are growing is the way that the snakes would move. 
- Also, looking at the texture in some area, gives the feel of snakeskin.
- The picture looks like it was taken in the morning because the top of the roots is darker and you can see where the water has dripped down on the sides. 
- There is a bunch of Creeping Charlie - just the leaves of it - growing around the roots. It makes it look like there are a lot of little lilypads.
- At the very top of the picture, near the trunk, there's a bunch of mossy grass that's dry. It could have fallen down from a nest. 
- There was also a thing of grass growing in the roots. 
- The Creeping Charlie gives the forest floor a blanketed look and it looks very peaceful.
- You can see the shadows where the tree roots split off from one another. 
- The tree roots look very big - like you could sit on them.
- They have a very interesting way of spreading out. The bark of the tree roots match the tree.

Leaf, Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska, 1963

Olivia remembered:
- In the picture, there are three kinds of leaves and some pine tree needles that are still on the tree.
- It looks like they were just frosted from the weather. 
- One of the leaves and the one that is in the middle, appears to be a maple leaf.
- The one in the upper left corner looks like it could be two leaves next to one another or poison ivy leaves. 
- The needles are from a pine tree - they kind of look like a white pine because they are very long. 
- Underneath the pine needles on the left side of the picture, there's another leaf and it is much darker than the other ones. It also looks like it is full of some small holes. 
- Also it has a much smoother texture and edging. It has more of a rounded touch than the other leaves that are more jagged.
- On the bottom of the picture, you can see three points and tops of the maple leaves. 
- In the right upper corner, there looks like there's a part of a tree branch. It looks like a twig covered with pine needles. 
- The center of the maple leaf is darker than the rest of the sides. I don't know if it is because some of the frost is melted, or if the leaf below it is putting a shadow on it. 
- You can really see the veins on the maple leaves and those in the left corner. You can definitely see the center veins and the others ones going to the points on the leaves. 
- All the medium-sized veins have small needle-like veins.
- It looks like the leaves on the left have not turned fall colors. It looks like they still have color - that they are green.
- Again, this photo was done more with blacks and white. 


My name is Erika. said...

Ansel Adams took some amazing photos. I enjoyed this post. And you showed some good examples of his work. Hugs-Erika

DVArtist said...

A wonderful post with lovely photos. Thank you for sharing it.