do it differently: ansel adams

 Outside of the Ansel Adams exhibit

Outside of the Ansel Adams exhibit

The perfect Saturday: a rainy afternoon exploring the halls of a museum. We spent the day at the Ansel Adams: Before and After exhibit at the Booth Museum. The exhibit puts Adams within the context of the history of nature photography. Here's the thing: there were nature photographs before Adams, and there are nature photographs after Adams. But there is only one Ansel Adams.

Adams did what everyone else was doing, but he did it differently. He honed his own craft in a crowded marketplace and invented a new method in the process.

Before Adams, photographs of the West were more romantic and had dreamy, almost oil painting qualities. When Ansel took a photo of a mountain, that mountain transformed from mere rocks to a divine statue. Nature becomes more than a dream, it becomes a beautiful reality. And what's more, he developed a special mix of darkroom chemicals formulated to bring out the contrast and texture of his photographs.

 He went on to become a celebrated photographer, of course. But he didn't stop there: he met new and aspiring photographers every day from 5 to 6 p.m., to offer encouragement, mentoring and conversation. He always found something nice to say about someone else's photography he tried to find something to compliment about their work. He did his best to offer encouragement and feedback as often as he could.

 And he changed the face of photography forever. By doing something differently and in his own way.

ansel adams quotes:


You don't take a photograph, you make it.
When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter.
There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.
There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.
Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer - and often the supreme disappointment.
A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into.
A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.


The exhibit was small, but powerful...Dorothea Lange's famous Migrant Mother  was on view...as well as from Ansel's mentor Alfred Steiglitz, Edmond Weston and Imogen Cunningham.