Ansel Adams may have chosen to specialize in landscape photography, but his eye for detail, humility, and creative vision remain inspirational for all photographers today
Whether you’ve chosen to follow in the footsteps of Ansel Adams and mainly do landscape photography or dabble in the genre once in a while, one thing remains certain: he remains an inspiration for generations of photographers, regardless of the kind of photography they practice. Today, we want to stoke the fires and bring you some insightful and inspiring interviews with Ansel Adams.
In this interview by Roy Firestone, we get a mix of commentary from the award-winning host, interviewer, and writer, and some interesting trivia that Ansel Adams himself elaborated on. These include his beginnings as a photographer using a box camera, his choice to pick up photography more seriously over a career in music (he was a trained classical pianist), and his belief that a camera may not be able to capture or express the human soul, “but maybe the photographer could.”
Marc Silber takes us back to the Yosemite in this interview with Michael Adams, Ansel’s son. Here, they revisited the landscape photography master’s Monolith, The Face of Half Dome photograph from 1927, and looked back at the story of how he first learned to visualize a photograph. This interview also includes a footage of Ansel himself explaining what it means to pre-photograph and “visualize” the photo in his mind’s eye.
In another rare interview with the master from 1971, Steve James of the Eikon Gallery gets Ansel Adams to tell more about his early work and discuss his efforts to establish photography as an art form.
This 1963 television interview with Ansel Adams was done during an art show, said to be held at the Crocker Art Gallery (now Crocker Art Museum) in Sacramento, California. Here, he once again alludes to his music background by comparing the photographic negative with the composer’s score, and the print with the performance.
Last but definitely not least is a video shared by Getty Museum, where Ansel Adams describes his approach; from visualization (“being able to do what you want to do, when you want to do it), to evaluating the brightness of the subject using an exposure meter, to setting his camera and developing methods following his now famous zone system.
Want more Ansel Adams inspiration? You may also want to check out the rest of our features related to the landscape master!
Screenshot image from the video by Getty Museum