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Burt Chernow Galleries
Housatonic Museum of Art
Housatonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport, CT 06604

For information call
Robbin Zella, Director,
203-332-5052.

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ANSEL ADAMS LESSON PLAN

LANGUAGE ARTS
Focus on descriptive detail

 

See Gallery: Dogwood for a close-up. In the exhibit, Classic Images, see Rose and Driftwood.

Adams was not only a master photographer and an accomplished musician, he was an excellent writer as well. A creative person often is interested in and accomplished in many areas, not confined to narrow limits. Adams was raised on the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He enjoyed poetry, particulary of Whitman and followers like Edward Carpenter, as quoted in Adams' Autobiography from "After Civilization":

In the first soft winds of spring, while snow yet lay on the ground -
Forth from the city into the great woods wandering,
Into the great silent white woods where they waited in their beauty and majesty
For man their companion to come...

Adams may be most well-known for his long-distance shots, but he was also fascinated with turning his camera to the details in nature. The creative photographers of the early twentieth century were known for close-up shots and Adams followed suit. He wrote poetically in his autobiography, "One can never assert the superiority...of torrents swollen by the floods of spring against the quiescent scintillations of an autumn stream."

Walt Whitman

Adams quoted an American poet who shared his view:

"These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distant and in its place."

From "Miracles," by Walt Whitman

Activity

Consider the photographs and the words of Ansel Adams, and the poetry of Walt Whitman and Carpenter in responding to the following:

Choose a small object or fragment and write a poem or description of it in as much close detail as possible.

A. How does the history and scale of the United States affect our appreciation of nature, literature and art?

B. How does nature, literature and art in turn affect our American identity? 

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Housatonic Museum of Art
Housatonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
For information call Robbin Zella, Director, 203-332-5052