100 Facts About Ansel Adams


Ansel Easton Adams was an American landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West.


Ansel Adams and Fred Archer developed a system of image-making called the Zone System, a method of achieving a desired final print through a technical understanding of how the tonal range of an image is the result of choices made in exposure, negative development, and printing.


Ansel Adams developed his early photographic work as a member of the Sierra Club.


Ansel Adams was later contracted with the United States Department of the Interior to make photographs of national parks.


Ansel Adams was a key advisor in the founding and establishment of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, an important landmark in securing photography's institutional legitimacy.


Ansel Adams helped to stage that department's first photography exhibition, helped found the photography magazine Aperture, and co-founded the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona.


Ansel Adams was born in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, the only child of Charles Hitchcock Ansel Adams and Olive Bray.


The Ansel Adams family came from New England, having migrated from the north of Ireland during the early 18th century.


Later in life, Ansel Adams condemned the industry his grandfather worked in for cutting down many of the great redwood forests.


Ansel Adams was a hyperactive child and prone to frequent sickness and hypochondria.


Ansel Adams had few friends, but his family home and surroundings on the heights facing the Golden Gate provided ample childhood activities.


Ansel Adams's father had a three-inch telescope; and they enthusiastically shared the hobby of astronomy, visiting the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton together.


Ansel Adams was dismissed from several private schools for being restless and inattentive, so when he was 12, his father decided to remove him from school.


Ansel Adams eventually resumed, and completed, his formal education by attending the Mrs Kate M Wilkins Private School, graduating from the eighth grade on June 8,1917.


Ansel Adams's father raised him to follow the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson: to live a modest, moral life guided by a social responsibility to man and nature.


Ansel Adams had a loving relationship with his father, but he had a distant relationship with his mother, who did not approve of his interest in photography.


The day after her death in 1950, Ansel Adams had a dispute with the undertaker when choosing the casket in which to bury her.


Ansel Adams chose the cheapest in the room, a $260 coffin that seemed the least he could purchase without doing the job himself.


Ansel Adams first visited Yosemite National Park in 1916 with his family.


Ansel Adams returned to Yosemite on his own the next year with better cameras and a tripod.


Ansel Adams contracted the Spanish flu during the 1918 flu pandemic, from which he needed several weeks to recuperate.


Ansel Adams read a book about lepers and became obsessed with cleanliness; he was afraid to touch anything without immediately washing his hands afterwards.


Ansel Adams avidly read photography magazines, attended camera club meetings, and went to photography and art exhibits.


Ansel Adams explored the High Sierra during summer and winter with retired geologist and amateur ornithologist Francis Holman, whom he called "Uncle Frank".


Ansel Adams grew interested in Best's daughter Virginia and later married her.


At age 17, Ansel Adams joined the Sierra Club, a group dedicated to protecting the wild places of the earth, and he was hired as the summer caretaker of the Sierra Club visitor facility in Yosemite Valley, the LeConte Memorial Lodge, from 1920 to 1923.


Ansel Adams remained a member throughout his lifetime and served as a director, as did his wife.


Ansel Adams was first elected to the Sierra Club's board of directors in 1934 and served on the board for 37 years.


Ansel Adams participated in the club's annual High Trips, later becoming assistant manager and official photographer for the trips.


Ansel Adams is credited with several first ascents in the Sierra Nevada.


For several years, Ansel Adams carried a pocket edition with him while at Yosemite; and it became his personal philosophy as well.


Ansel Adams gave piano lessons for extra income that allowed him to purchase a grand piano suitable to his musical ambitions.


Ansel Adams felt that his small hands limited his repertoire, but qualified judges considered him a gifted pianist.


Ansel Adams experimented with such techniques, as well as the bromoil process, which involved brushing an oily ink onto the paper.


Ansel Adams used a soft-focus lens, "capturing a glowing luminosity that captured the mood of a magical summer afternoon".


In 1927, Adams began working with Albert M Bender, a San Francisco insurance magnate and arts patron.


Bender helped Ansel Adams produce his first portfolio in his new style, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras, which included his famous image Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, which was taken with his Korona view camera, using glass plates and a dark red filter.


Ansel Adams's first portfolio was a success, earning nearly $3,900 with the sponsorship and promotion of Bender.


Ansel Adams began to understand how important it was that his carefully crafted photos were reproduced to best effect.


Ansel Adams learned much about printing techniques, inks, design, and layout, which he later applied to other projects.


Ansel Adams married Virginia Best in 1928, after a pause from 1925 to 1926 during which he had brief relationships with various women.


Between 1929 and 1942, Ansel Adams's work matured, and he became more established.


Ansel Adams expanded the technical range of his works, emphasizing detailed close-ups as well as large forms, from mountains to factories.


Ansel Adams was impressed by the simplicity and detail of Strand's negatives, which showed a style that ran counter to the soft-focus, impressionistic pictorialism still popular at the time.


Strand shared secrets of his technique with Ansel Adams and convinced him to pursue photography fully.


One of Strand's suggestions that Ansel Adams adopted was to use glossy paper to intensify tonal values.


Ansel Adams decided to broaden his subject matter to include still life and close-up photos and to achieve higher quality by "visualizing" each image before taking it.


Ansel Adams emphasized the use of small apertures and long exposures in natural light, which created sharp details with a wide range of distances in focus, as demonstrated in Rose and Driftwood, one of his finest still-life photographs.


Ansel Adams began to publish essays in photography magazines and wrote his first instructional book, Making a Photograph, in 1935.


Ansel Adams was inspired partly by the increasing incursion into Yosemite Valley of commercial development, including a pool hall, bowling alley, golf course, shops, and automobile traffic.


Ansel Adams created the limited-edition book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail in 1938, as part of the Sierra Club's efforts to secure the designation of Kings Canyon as a national park.


In 1935, Ansel Adams created many new photographs of the Sierra Nevada; and one of his most famous, Clearing Winter Storm, depicted the entire Yosemite Valley, just as a winter storm abated, leaving a fresh coat of snow.


Ansel Adams gathered his recent work and had a solo show at Stieglitz's "An American Place" gallery in New York in 1936.


Ansel Adams made a candid portrait of O'Keeffe with Cox on the rim of Canyon de Chelly.


Ansel Adams depended on such assignments financially until the 1970s.


Ansel Adams photographed Timothy L Pflueger's new Patent Leather Bar for the St Francis Hotel in 1939.


In 1940, Ansel Adams created A Pageant of Photography, the largest and most important photography show in the West to date, attended by millions of visitors.


Ansel Adams began his first serious stint of teaching, which included the training of military photographers, in 1941 at the Art Center School of Los Angeles, now known as the Art Center College of Design.


In 1941, Ansel Adams contracted with the National Park Service to make photographs of National Parks, Indian reservations, and other locations managed by the department, for use as mural-sized prints to decorate the department's new building.


Ansel Adams set off on a road trip with his friend Cedric and his son Michael, intending to combine work on the "Mural Project" with commissions for the US Potash Company and Standard Oil, with some days reserved for personal work.


Over nearly 40 years, Ansel Adams re-interpreted the image, his most popular by far, using the latest darkroom equipment at his disposal, making over 1,369 unique prints, mostly in 16" by 20" format.


Ansel Adams sent a total of 225 small prints to the DOI, but held on to the 229 negatives.


When Edward Steichen formed his Naval Aviation Photographic Unit in early 1942, he wanted Ansel Adams to be a member, to build and direct a state-of-the-art darkroom and laboratory in Washington, DC Around February 1942, Steichen asked Ansel Adams to join him in the navy.


Ansel Adams was distressed by the Japanese American internment that occurred after the Pearl Harbor attack.


Ansel Adams requested permission to visit the Manzanar War Relocation Center in the Owens Valley, at the base of Mount Williamson.


Ansel Adams contributed to the war effort by doing many photographic assignments for the military, including making prints of secret Japanese installations in the Aleutians.


In 1943, Ansel Adams had a camera platform mounted on his station wagon, to afford him a better vantage point over the immediate foreground and a better angle for expansive backgrounds.


Ansel Adams was the recipient of three Guggenheim Fellowships during his career, the first being awarded in 1946 to photograph every national park.


At that time, there were 28 national parks, and Ansel Adams photographed 27 of them, missing only Everglades National Park in Florida.


In 1945, Ansel Adams was asked to form the first fine art photography department at the California School of Fine Arts.


Ansel Adams invited Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham, and Edward Weston to be guest lecturers, and Minor White to be the principal instructor.


In 1952 Ansel Adams was one of the founders of the magazine Aperture, which was intended as a serious journal of photography, displaying its best practitioners and newest innovations.


Ansel Adams was a contributor to Arizona Highways, a photo-rich travel magazine.


In June 1955, Ansel Adams began his annual workshops at Yosemite.


Ansel Adams continued with commercial assignments for another twenty years, and became a consultant, with a monthly retainer, for Polaroid Corporation, which was founded by good friend Edwin Land.


Ansel Adams made thousands of photographs with Polaroid products, El Capitan, Winter, Sunrise being the one he considered most memorable.


Ansel Adams published his fourth portfolio, What Majestic Word, in 1963, and dedicated it to the memory of his Sierra Club friend Russell Varian, who was a co-inventor of the klystron and who had died in 1959.


Ansel Adams began to devote much of his time to printing the backlog of negatives that had accumulated over forty years.


In 1972, Ansel Adams contributed images to help publicize Proposition 20, which authorized the state to regulate development along portions of the California coast.


Ansel Adams had a major retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


In 1979, President Jimmy Carter commissioned Ansel Adams to make the first official photographic portrait of a US president.


Ansel Adams died from cardiovascular disease on April 22,1984, in the intensive-care unit at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey, California, at age 82.


Ansel Adams was surrounded by his wife, children Michael and Anne, and five grandchildren.


Ansel Adams's body was cremated and his ashes were scattered on the Half Dome at Yosemite National Park.


An archive of Ansel Adams's work is located at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson.


Ansel Adams's work is distinguished from theirs by his interest in the transient and ephemeral.


Ansel Adams photographed at varying times of the day and of the year, capturing the landscape's changing light and atmosphere.


However, despite its striking and prominent display, Ansel Adams expressed displeasure at the "gross" enlargement and "poor" quality of the print.


Ansel Adams wrote the group's manifesto for their exhibition at the De Young Museum:.


Ansel Adams disliked the work of Mortensen and disliked him personally, referring to him as the "Anti-Christ".


Ansel Adams later developed this purist approach into the Zone System.


In 1940, with trustee David H McAlpin and curator Beaumont Newhall, Adams helped establish the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Ansel Adams received a number of awards during his lifetime and posthumously, and several awards and places have been named in his honor.


Ansel Adams received an honorary artium doctor degree from Harvard University and an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Yale University.


Ansel Adams was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1966.


In 1984 Ansel Adams was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame.


Ansel Adams was known mostly for his boldly printed, large-format black-and-white images, but he worked extensively with color.


Ansel Adams used a variety of other negative formats, from 35mm and medium format roll film through less common formats such as Polaroid type 55 and 7x17 panoramic cameras.


The 1958 documentary "Ansel Adams, Photographer" narrated by Beaumont Newhall gives an overview of Adams's toolkit at the time, with some examples of his camera outfits including:.


Ansel Adams mounted a platform on the roof of his car to allow him to take images with the view cameras from an elevated point of view.