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

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Robbin Zella, Director,
203-332-5052.

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ANSEL ADAMS: Classic Images

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Ansel Adams
By Cassie M., Grade7
1902-1984

Ansel Adams was a musician, a teacher, a scientist, a conservationist, and an advocate. These are just some of the terms that describe the most famous photographer in American history. Ansel Adams was born in 1902 in San Francisco, California. When he was fourteen, he went on a family vacation to Yosemite Valley in California. He was given a No. 1 Brownie Box camera around the same time as he went to Yosemite Valley. These two small events affected a lot on Adam's life. He was impressed and fascinated by photography and things like the Sierra Mountains. Adams worked with a photofinisher in commercial processing San Francisco in the winter and returned to Yosemite every summer.

For four years (beginning at age seventeen) Ansel was working at the Sierra Club LeConte memorial Building in Yosemite as a custodian. This influenced Adams to his vocation, which was the preservation and conservation of the wilderness areas and national parks in the United States. He made lots of accomplishments; for example, he served as board member and director of the Sierra Club and as environmental spokesperson for land protection in Congress. He also organized early photographic workshops in Yosemite's landscape with technical teaching. When Ansel was a teenager he wanted to be a concert pianist, but after he observed the negatives made by Paul Strand (an East Coast photographer) in 1930, he decided to become a photographer. Because he decided to become a photographer, the West Coast had different remarks made by the people on them. There were lots of different photographs in the bay area of California. For example, Edward Weston, Sonya Noskowiak, Henry Swift, John Paul Edwards, and Imogen Cunningham were all photographer s from California.

In 1935, Ansel already had published his own book called Making a Photograph, which everyone loved. Six years later (in 1941), his groundbreaking Zone System was expressed, "which introduced a way for the amateur and professional alike to determine and control the exposure and development of prints for maximum visual acuity".

Because of Ansel Adams' teaching and his publishing, he has influenced many, many generations of photographers. Ansel accomplished many things like he was a guest lecturer and course instructor at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He founded the first department of photography at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and he was also an author of many books.

Ansel had a dream that was to guarantee the keeping of photographs and make them open for public education purposes. Today, there are rare prints, negatives, study prints, and souvenirs at the Ansel Adams Archive Center.


Ansel Adams
By Diana D., Grade 7

Ansel Easton Adams lived from 1920-1984. He was born into a wealthy family in San Francisco, California. He was first trained to become a concert pianist. His interest in photography began in 1916 when he went on a trip to Yosemite National Park. His earliest photographs were in the soft focus style. This was popular at that time. But after contact with American photographer Paul Strand and others in 1930, his work began to develop the sharp focus. He became a famous American photographer. He is well known for his black-and-white photographs of Yosemite National Park, the California coast, and other wilderness areas of the American West. Ansel painstaking control and detail made him unequaled as a technical master of the black and white print. His photograph includes convey and both the vast scale and the intimate detail of a landscape.

He abandoned his musical career in favor of a career in photography. He moved to Yosemite in 1937 and later to Carmel, California. Ansel invented a method of development. He called it the zone system. He used to divide the gradations of light in a scene into ten zones from black to white this let him to visualize the different levels of gray in the final photograph.

He spent much of his life photographing in the national parks, and served as an official photographer for the Sierra Club. In 1932 Adams and other California photographers, founded an influential group called f/64. This group was devoted to taking straightforward photographs in sharp focus. In 1935 Adams published "Making a Photograph". It was the first of a series of technical manuals. In 1949 he helped found the photography department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 1946 he helped establish the first academic department to teach photography. In 1949 he took part in his first photography workshop at Yosemite. From 1955 to 1981 he held annual photography workshops in Yosemite. In 1943 he took photographs that documented the conditions of Japanese Americans during World War II. Adams published more than two dozen books. A year after his death his autobiography was published. In 1984 the United States Congress established the Ansel Adams Wilderness Area. In 1989 they opened an exhibit to promote his work along with that of other photographers.

In conclusion I think Ansel Adams was a very important man in the photographic world. I also think that he was a unique photographer and that the world should learn more about him.

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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