1902 San Francisco
Ansel Adams, born in San Francisco on February 20, 1902, is one of the most important landscape photographers internationally. Adams published more that 20 volumes of photographs from American national parks – these were not only received with enthusiasm by the art world, but were also the impetus for the opening of new parks.
Ansel Adams' first photographs were taken in Yosemite National Park when he was 14 years old. Here he discovered his delight in photography and in nature. First he completed his education as a concert pianist, but later on also dedicated himself to photography. After several trips through the United States, his first photographic publication, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras, appeared in 1927, and in 1928, Ansel Adams began to take photographs at the same time for the Sierra Club nature organization. His meeting with Paul Strand, one of the main figures in American avant-garde photography, impressed Adams deeply and lead to his decision to leave his professional music career and turn to photography instead.
Two years later, Ansel Adams founded the group "f/64" together with Cunningham, Weston and others. The pictures of these photographers distinguish themselves in their highest possible depth of focus and their portrayal of details. In addition to his individual exhibit with Stieglitz and the publication of his first photography textbook, "Making a Photograph", in 1940 Adams also helped to establish the photographic department of the New York MoMA and worked determinedly to secure recognition for photography as a legitimate artistic medium.
Adams undertook extensive trips in the Western US with Weston, McAlpin and the painter Georgia O'Keeffe. In 1941 Adams developed his "Zone System", which enabled photographers to determine the precise lighting and development time for optimal gray tones.
In subsequent years, Adams taught at American universities, participated in the establishment of the Photography Department at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and received three Guggenheim fellowships. In 1962, he retreated to the Carmel Highlands in California.
Ansel Adams died in Carmel on April 22, 1984. Adams’ nature photographs show his love for America’s untouched landscapes and evoke the uniqueness and beauty of nature.