Friday, October 16, 2009

Ansel Adams

Born: February 20, 1902
San Francisco, California
Died: April 22, 1984
Carmel, California
American photographer

Ansel Adams was a masterful photographer and a lifelong conservationist (a person who works to preserve and protect the environment) who encouraged understanding of, and respect for, the natural environment. Although he spent a large part of his career in commercial photography, he is best known for his photographs of landscapes.

Early life
Ansel Easton Adams, the only child of Charles Hitchcock and Olive Bray Adams, was born on February 20, 1902, in San Francisco, California, near the Golden Gate Bridge. In 1906 an aftershock from the famous earthquake of that year threw him to the floor and gave him a badly broken nose. His father, a successful businessman who owned an insurance agency and a chemical factory, sent him to private, as well as public, schools. Adams was shy and self-conscious about his nose and had problems in school. He received only an eighth-grade education, preferring to learn mainly through following his own interests. From a young age he enjoyed the outdoors, taking many long walks and exploring.

At age twelve Adams began playing the piano. He was serious about music and decided to pursue it as a career. But he was also interested in photography. A family trip to Yosemite National Park in 1916, where he made his first amateur photos, is said to have determined his direction in life. He then found a job as a photo technician for a commercial firm, which helped him learn more about his hobby. In 1919 he joined the Sierra Club, an organization devoted to protecting the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada. He spent the next few summers working as a caretaker in the organization's headquarters in Yosemite Valley. Later in life, from 1936 to 1970, Adams was president of the Sierra Club, one of the many distinguished positions that he held.
In the 1920s Adams was spending as much time as he could in the Sierra Nevada, hiking, exploring, and taking photographs. He became friendly with leaders of the Sierra Club, had photos and writings printed in the club's official publication, and became more involved with the conservation movement. He even met his wife, Virginia Best, in Yosemite. They were married in 1928 and had two children.

Photography career
Ansel Adams gave up on the piano and decided to become a full-time professional photographer at about the time that some of his work was published in limited edition collections, such as Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras (1927) and Taos Pueblo (1930), with text written by Mary Austin. His first important one-man show was held in San Francisco in 1932 at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum.

Adams went on to open the Ansel Adams Gallery for the Arts. He also taught, lectured, and worked on advertising assignments in the San Francisco area. During the 1930s he also began his extensive publications on methods of photography, insisting throughout his life on the importance of careful craftsmanship. In 1936 Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) gave Adams a oneman show in his New York gallery—only the second time the work of a young photographer was exhibited by Stieglitz.

In 1937 Adams moved to Yosemite Valley close to his major subject and began publishing a stream of volumes, including Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail (1938), Illustrated Guide to Yosemite Valley (1940), Yosemite and the High Sierra (1948), and My Camera in Yosemite Valley (1949).

New ideas on photography
In 1930 Adams met the famous photographer Paul Strand (1890–1976) while they were working in Taos, New Mexico, and the man and his work had a lasting effect on Adams's approach to photography. Strand encouraged Adams to change his approach from a soft expression of subjects to a much clearer, harder treatment, so-called "straight photography." This idea was further reinforced by his association with the short-lived, but important, group of photographers known as f/64 (referring to the lens opening which guarantees a distinct image), which included Edward Weston (1886–1958) and Imogen Cunningham (1883–1976). This group helped the development of photography as a fine art.

In one sense Ansel Adams's work is an extensive record of what is still left of the wilderness, the shrinking untouched part of the natural environment. Yet to see his work only as photographic images is to miss the main point that he tried to make: without a guiding vision, photography is not necessarily an important activity. The finished product, as Adams saw it, must be thought up before it can be executed. With nineteenth-century artists and philosophers (seekers of wisdom) he shared the belief that this vision must be inspired by life on earth. Photographs, he believed, were not taken from the environment but were made into something greater than themselves.

Ansel Adams died on April 22, 1984. During his life he was criticized for photographing rocks while the world was falling apart. He responded by suggesting that "the understanding of the … world of nature will aid in holding the world of man together."

A few pictures of him.,_1980.jpg/263px-Ansel_Adams,_1980.jpg and


Sadly, today it pored buckets and buckets of rain and it was very windy. I kind of forgot, but that is pretty much how our fall is here in the Skagit Valley. We were really blessed with a beautiful and warm summer. Tomorrow is supposed to clear up, but Lord only knows. The leaves are all starting to fall off the deciduous trees. The crisp, bright orange maple leaves are so beautiful. Patches of orange amongst the evergreens are so breath-taking!

Friendship - Kahil Gibran


And a youth said, "Speak to us of Friendship."
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

-- Kahil Gibran was a poet, philosopher, and artist. He was born in Lebanon, a land that has produced many prophets and is widely considered to be on the greatest Arabic prophets of our age. His writings have been translated into many languages and his fame and influence have spread far beyond the middle East. Kahlil's most famous work is his short book "The Prophet" (1923). The prophet is a book of 26 poetic essays which deal with issues such as birth and death.
In 1895 Gibran and his family moved to the US where Kahlil lived until his death in 1931.


"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." -- Winston Churchill was British statesman and leader during World War II; received Nobel prize for literature in 1953 (1874-1965)

"The better part of one's life consists of his friendships". --Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States; saved the Union during the American Civil War and emancipated the slaves; was assassinated by Booth (1809-1865)

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another." -- Charles Dickens was an English writer whose novels depicted and criticized social injustice (1812-1870)

"Wisdom begins in wonder." Socrates was a ancient Athenian philosopher; teacher of Plato and Xenophon (470-399 BC)