Genius Loci

ANSEL ADAMS  Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California (1944)  Gelatin silver print.

ANSEL ADAMS (1902-84)
Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California (1944) 
Gelatin silver print.

A dramatic celebration of the natural world

San Francisco-born Ansel Adams took his first photograph in 1916, but his original plan was to become a pianist. At the age of 12 he started teaching himself to play the piano and read music. Soon he was taking lessons, and the ardent pursuit of music became his substitute for formal schooling. For the next dozen years the piano was Adams’s primary occupation and, by 1920, his intended profession. Although he ultimately gave up music for photography, the piano brought substance, discipline, and structure to his frustrating and erratic youth. Moreover, the careful training and exacting craft required of a musician profoundly informed his visual artistry, as well as his influential writings and teachings on photography.

Adams finally decided on photography as a career. A master of the natural landscape photograph, Adams became famous for his spectacular, reverential images of the American West.

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