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Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco to businessman Charles Hitchcock Adams and Olive Bray in 1902. At the age of four, in 1906, the great earthquake of San Francisco tossed him to the ground; the fall resulted in a "badly broken nose" which marked him for the rest of his life according to illiam Turnage, writing in the ebsite www.AnselAdams.com. Adams did not do well in school but he was interested in music and found tremendous job in the natural world. In fact his love of nature was "nurtured" in the Golden Gate area and in the Yosemite Valley. His parents gave him a Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie, he joined the Sierra Club, and began spending a lot of time -- and taking photos -- in Yosemite.
He moved up to better cameras, and began getting recognition by the 1930s. He had his first showing…
Imaging Info. (2011). Techniques of Ansel Adams Explored. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from http://www.imaginginfo.com/online/printer.jsp?id=3447.
Spaulding, Jonathan. (1998). Ansel Adams and the American Landscape: A Biography.
Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Turnage, William. (2008). Ansel Adams, Photographer. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from http://www.anseladams.com/anseladams_biography_s/51.htm .
Framing of these images is simple, which makes them even more stunning and arresting in real life. If the viewer has only seen some of Adams' work reproduced in posters and prints, these original photographs can be extremely impressive and magnetizing. Some of them seem larger than life, and they all show the incredible detail and lighting that mark all of Adams' work. It is difficult not to imagine how long the photographer waited to get just the right light, just the right angle, and just the right exposure to create these works of art, and it is hard to be inspired as you view these classic images of some of the most beautiful spots in America.
The exhibit calls Adams a "populist hero" who inspired others to enjoy and advocate for America's National Parks. Adams was always very open about his use of "Photogenia" in his photos, he manipulated…
.Barthes, Roland. "The Photographic Message." Image, Music, Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977. 15-31.
Ansel Adams: An Analysis of the Importance of America's Most Popular Photographer
Of all the great black-and-white photographers, Ansel Adams was the blackest and the whitest. -- Kenneth Brower, 2002
Today, Ansel Adams is widely regarded as the most important landscape photographer of the 20th century, and is perhaps the most best known and beloved photographer in the history of the United States. As a firm testament to his talents and innovations, the popularity of his work has only increased over the years following his death in 1984 (Szarkowski 1-2). This photographer's most important work concerned the last remaining vestiges of untouched wilderness in the nation, particularly in the national parks and other protected areas of the American est; in addition, Adams was an early and outspoken leader of the conservation movement (Szarkowski 2). This paper provides an overview of Adams and his historical significance, followed by a discussion of…
Adams, Ansel. "The Artist and the Ideals of Wilderness." In Wilderness: America's Living
Heritage, David Brower (Ed.). San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1961.
--- -- . Letters and Images 1916-1984, Mary S. Alinder and Andrea G. Stillman (Eds.). Boston:
Little, Brown, 1988.
Before making plans to personally visit the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, I spent an hour or so researching the museum, Mr. Getty, and some of the issues that this richest of all art museums had recently faced. The assignment calls for finding out what is available to see, and I also found out what was not available to see. One important statue that I would have liked to have viewed was the ancient Greek "goddess of love," Aphrodite, that that iconic statue had been repatriated back to Italy in 2011. My research also showed that the trend for museums that have antiquities on display is to return those art pieces to their rightful countries, if they were purchased from dealers who either stole them or bought them from thieves. In fact the Getty Museum has given back 47 pieces in the last few years (the…
Adams, A. (2014). In Focus: Ansel Adams. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California.
Ensor, J. (2014). The Scandalous Art of James Ensor. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Female Artists Who Worked in the American West
The subject of female artists working in the American West has often been overlooked due to pervasive Western male stereotypes. These stereotypical images include popular media overlays of cowboys, male hero icons and male activities. Yet, the environment of the American West has been the inspiration for many American female artists. One of these is the landscape photographer, Laura Gilpin. Gilpin's relation to the West and the connection of that particular landscape to her work is obvious from the following quotation:
What I consider really fine landscapes are very few and far between," Laura Gilpin wrote to a friend in 1956. "I consider this field one of the greatest challenges and it is the principal reason I live in the West. I am willing to drive many miles, expose a lot of film, wait untold hours, camp out to be somewhere at…
Brayer, Elizabeth. "A Show of Her Own." Afterimage 23.3 (1995): 16. Questia. 24 Apr. 2004 http://www.questia.com/ .
An exhibition review of women artists that questions the lack of representation of these artists in relation to the quality of their work.
Women Artists of the American West. Laura Gilpin. Perdue University. 23 April, 2004. http://www.sla.purdue.edu/waaw/Sandweiss/index.html
An excellent overview and detailed description of various less-known female artists working in the American West.
My immediate response to Burtynsky's work was to think that the artist had managed to find a relevant aesthetic response to the most serious issue of the twenty-first century, which is climate change. he difficulty with climate change is that it does not lend itself easily to artistic representation or commentary: any small child knows that slowly and painstakingly building up a castle made of Legos is not as exciting as destroying a Lego castle. Ecology can seem tedious and destruction can seem fun. Burtynsky's work sidesteps this difficulty because in some sense he is documenting the destruction.
his does not mean Burtynsky's work feels message-driven. In photographic work documenting the large-scale changes that human beings make on their physical environment, such as "Mines," "Quarries," and "Railcuts" (all of which are large enough to be actual geological phenomenon but are in fact manmade, and each of which is…
This does not mean Burtynsky's work feels message-driven. In photographic work documenting the large-scale changes that human beings make on their physical environment, such as "Mines," "Quarries," and "Railcuts" (all of which are large enough to be actual geological phenomenon but are in fact manmade, and each of which is documented in a separate photographic series) Burtynsky is showing, rather than telling. His work does not preach a save-the-planet message but instead allows the viewer to infer the presence of human activities behind these panoramic views of "un-natural" landscapes. I use the word "un-natural" because Burtynsky's work first meets the eye as standard nature photography -- a sort of Ansel Adams in Technicolor -- until the viewer realizes that these are not "natural" scenes but scenes of man-made disruption.
Burtynsky's work appeals to me for its relevance. We live in an era when climate change is happening fast due to human activity, while humans are not responding quickly enough for a crisis of such magnitude. While other art forms may attempt to capture an environmental theme -- plenty of Hollywood films have an obvious ecological message -- photographs like Burtynsky's do not manipulate an audience like a movie does. His pictures merely provide evidence, and let the audience draw their own sober conclusions. In some sense, the major work of aesthetic ordering and organization in Burtynsky's work is not the photography itself but the man-made structures and scenes that he depicts -- this problematizes our category of "the aesthetic" insofar as many of these devastated scenes have their own haunting and desolate beauty, and clearly that is part of Burtynsky's point.
2. Burtynsky's series "China" depicts the environmental and landscape changes caused by large-scale human development projects during China's ongoing economic boom. For example, Burtynsky's photograph "Feng Jie #3" from part of the series of the "Three Gorges Dam Project, Yangtze River, China 2002" is only a little more than ten years old, and shows construction on an electrical generation dam being built on one of China's largest rivers. Compositionally speaking, "Feng Jie #3" uses the traditional elements of photography to frame Burtynsky's evident message. The predominant color in the photo is the ashen grey stone of the broken rubble that litters the landscape, presumably stone used in the building of the dam itself. But this landscape has become inhospitable for human habitation, and so on the far left of the photo -- where the eye naturally begins to "read" the image from left to right -- we can see a colorful and flimsy cloth tent, which is the closest to a human dwelling that can be placed on top of this vast rockpile. In the distance also on the left we can see an actual human dwelling -- a multi-story concrete apartment dwelling -- which is framed to provide context to the cloth tent. But the overall movement of