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The exhibition featured 60 prints taken in the High Sierra. He received a favorable review from the Washington Post: Despite his success, Adams felt that he was not yet up to the standards of Strand. He decided to broaden his subject matter to include still life and close-up photos, and to achieve higher quality by "visualizing" each image before taking it. He emphasized the use of small apertures and long exposures in natural light, which created sharp details with a wide range of focus, as demonstrated in Rose and Driftwood , one of his finest still-life photographs.
In , Adams had a group show at the M. The group's manifesto stated, "Pure photography is defined as possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form.
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Adams opened his own art and photography gallery in San Francisco in , imitating Stieglitz's example. During the summers, he often participated with Sierra Club High Trips outings, as a paid photographer for the group, and the rest of the year a core group of the Club members socialized regularly in San Francisco and Berkeley.
In , his first child Michael was born, followed by Anne two years later. During the s, Adams began to deploy his photographs in the cause of wilderness preservation. He was inspired partly by the increasing desecration of Yosemite Valley by commercial development, including a pool hall, bowling alley, golf course, shops, and automobile traffic. He created the limited-edition book Sierra Nevada: This book and his testimony before Congress played a vital role in the success of the effort, and Congress designated the area as a National Park in Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.
I know of no sculpture, painting or music that exceeds the compelling spiritual command of the soaring shape of granite cliff and dome, of patina of light on rock and forest, and of the thunder and whispering of the falling, flowing waters. At first the colossal aspect may dominate; then we perceive and respond to the delicate and persuasive complex of nature.
In , Adams created many new photographs of the Sierra Nevada, and one of his most famous, Clearing Winter Storm, depicted the entire Yosemite Valley just as a winter storm relented, leaving a fresh coat of snow. The exhibition proved successful with both the critics and the buying public, and earned Adams strong praise from the revered Stieglitz.
During the rest of the s, Adams took on many commercial assignments to supplement the income from the struggling Best's Studio. Until the s, Adams was financially dependent on commercial projects. Pflueger 's new Patent Leather Bar for the St.
Francis hotel in In , Ansel created A Pageant of Photography , the most important and largest photography show in the West to date, attended by millions of visitors. He also taught photography by giving workshops in Detroit. Adams also began his first serious stint of teaching in at the Art Center School of Los Angeles, now known as Art Center College of Design , which included the training of military photographers. In , Adams had a camera platform mounted on his station wagon, to afford him a better vantage point over the immediate foreground and a better angle for expansive backgrounds.
Most of his landscapes from that time forward were made from the roof of his car rather than from summits reached by rugged hiking, as in his earlier days. On a trip in New Mexico during , Adams photographed a scene of the Moon rising above a modest village with snow-covered mountains in the background, under a dominating black sky. The photograph is one of his most famous and is named Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.
Adams's description in his later books of how it was made probably enhanced the photograph's fame: However the exposure was actually determined, the foreground was underexposed, the highlights in the clouds were quite dense, and the negative proved difficult to print.
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In September , Adams contracted [n 2] with the Department of the Interior to make photographs of National Parks, Indian reservations, and other locations for use as mural-sized prints for decoration of the department's new building. Part of his understanding with the department was that he might also make photographs for his own use, using his own film and processing. Although Adams kept meticulous records of his travel and expenses,  he was less disciplined about recording the dates of his images and neglected to note the date of Moonrise , so it was not clear whether it belonged to Adams or to the U.
But the position of the moon allowed the image to be eventually dated from astronomical calculations, and it was determined that Moonrise was made on November 1, , [n 3] a day for which he had not billed the department, so the image belonged to Adams. The same was not true for many of his other negatives, including The Tetons and the Snake River , which, having been made for the Mural Project, became the property of the U.
When Edward Steichen formed his Naval Aviation Photographic Unit in early , he wanted Adams to be a member, to build and direct a state-of-the-art darkroom and laboratory in Washington, D. He wanted to be commissioned as an officer, and he also told Steichen he would not be available until July 1.
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Adams was distressed by the Japanese American Internment that occurred after the Pearl Harbor attack. The resulting photo-essay first appeared in a Museum of Modern Art exhibit, and later was published as Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese-Americans. On release of this book, "it was met with some distressing resistance and was rejected by many as disloyal". He also contributed to the war effort by doing many photographic assignments for the military, including making prints of secret Japanese installations in the Aleutians.
Adams was the recipient of three Guggenheim fellowships during his career, the first in to photograph every national park. At that time, there were 28 national parks, and Adams photographed 27 of them, missing only Everglades National Park in Florida.
In , Adams was asked to form the first fine art photography department at the San Francisco Art Institute. In Adams was one of the founders of the magazine Aperture , which was intended as a serious journal of photography displaying its best practitioners and newest innovations. He was also a contributor to Arizona Highways , a photo-rich travel magazine.
His article on Mission San Xavier del Bac , with text by longtime friend Nancy Newhall , was enlarged into a book published in This was the first of many collaborations with her. In June , Adams began his annual workshops, teaching thousands of students until ,  He continued with commercial assignments for another twenty years, and became a consultant with a monthly retainer for Polaroid Corporation , which was founded by good friend Edwin Land. During the final twenty years of his life, the 6x6cm medium format Hasselblad was his camera of choice, with Moon and Half Dome being his favorite photograph made with that marque of camera.
Adams published his fourth portfolio, What Majestic Word , in , and dedicated it to the memory of his Sierra Club friend Russell Varian ,  who was a co-inventor of the klystron and who had died in The title was taken from the poem "Sand Dunes," by John Varian , Russell's father,  and the fifteen photographs were accompanied by the writings of both John and Russell Varian.
Russell's widow, Dorothy, wrote the preface, and explained that the photographs were selected to serve as interpretations of the character of Russell Varian. In the s, a few mainstream art galleries without a photographic emphasis , which originally would have considered photos unworthy of exhibit alongside fine paintings, decided to show Adams's images, particularly the former Kenmore Gallery in Philadelphia. The collection, titled Fiat Lux after the university's motto, was published in and now resides in the Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside.
In , Adams was guest of honor at the Rencontres d'Arles festival in France.
The festival celebrated the artist three more times after that: In , Adams had a major retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Much of his time during the s was spent curating and reprinting negatives from his vault, in part to satisfy the great demand of art museums which had finally created departments of photography and desired his works.
He also devoted his considerable writing skills and prestige to the cause of environmentalism, emphasizing particularly the Big Sur coastline of California and the protection of Yosemite from overuse. President Jimmy Carter commissioned him to make the first official portrait of a president made by a photograph. Adams died from cardiovascular disease on April 22, , in the Intensive-care unit at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey, California , at age He was surrounded by his wife, children Michael and Anne, and five grandchildren. John Szarkowski states in the introduction to Ansel Adams: Classic Images , p.
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