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Ansel Adams Quotes

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Ansel Adams was a photographer and environmentalist. His photographic work spanned 60 years from the 1920s until the 1980s. Ansel Adams strove for a realistic approach to photography relying on focus, contrast, exposure, and darkroom technique to create incrediable landscape images. Ansel Adams and Fred Archer developed the zone system used to determine proper exposure and development of a photographic image. His work is showcased to this day as pioneering examples of photography as an art medium, historical record, and a powerful and influencial tool to shape opinion.

Ansel Adams as an environmentalist was instrumental in wilderness preservation. Through cooperation with the Sierra Club Adams published a book titled "Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail". His book, collective photographic work, and testimony before Congress helped secure Sequoia and Kings Canyon as national parks.

Quotes by Ansel Adams:

“I am sure the next step will be the electronic image, and I hope I shall live to see it. I trust that the creative eye will continue to function, whatever technological innovations may develop.”

“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.”

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”

“To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces.”

“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.”

“A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.”

“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.”

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”

“We must remember that a photograph can hold just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium.”

“Photography, as a powerful medium…offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.”

“There’s nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.”

“The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.”

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.”

“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer, and often the supreme disappointment.”

“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”

“Notebook. No photographer should be without one.” 

“…one sees differently with color photography than black-and-white… in short, visualization must be modified by the specific nature of the equipment and materials being used.”

“The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.”

“Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.”

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.”

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

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