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Lesson Plans

RE: Ansel Adams

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sears, Ellen (
Fri, 9 Oct 1998 09:12:18 -0400

Re: Speed Museum (Louisville, Ky) Ansel Adams exhibit

I was reading about the exhibit in the museum newsletter last night.

These are among the things I highlighted, and thought I would share:

An erstwhile pianist (at age 12 he began to play the piano and the
ambition to be a concert pianist persisted into his twenties), his attitude
towards photography mirrored that of a musician's attitude toward his craft.
"We may think of the negative as the score and the print as the

The prints seen here are more dramatic and theatrical than those
produced earlier in his career. Many have been extensively altered through
dodging, burning, toning and other traditional techniques. The extremes of
shadow and highlight are emphasized, often at the expense of middle grays.
It is believed that in his mature years the photographer saw the world quite
differently - both literally, in terms of his eyesight, and metaphorically,
in terms of his aspirations for his pictures. There is evidence to suggest
that as Adams grew older his visual acuity changed. This may explain his
shift to an increasing 'strong' printing style, at once richer, darker and
more chiaroscuro than his work of the 30s and 40s.