Ansel Adams as Photography Teacher

The American artist Ansel Adams is one of the world’s best known landscape photographers. He was born in 1902 in San Franciso. He died just south of his place of birth, on the beautiful coast of Monterey, in 1984. He was the most celebrated American photographer of the twentieth century, whose photography spans over 60 years and produced over 40,000 photographs.

Adams always had a eye for the extra-ordinary in nature.  His photography of the Yosemite National Park and natural reserves in and around California is breathtaking. He received his first camera, a Kodak Brownie box camera, at age 16 on his first trip to Yosemite, an event which changed his life forever.

It is also well-known that Ansel Adams was one fo the greatest environmentalists of the twentieth century. By exhibiting & publishing his art and writings, his presidency over the Sierra Club, Ansel Adams effectively advocated the preservation of America’s wilderness.


Ansel Adams Books

However, besides being a fantastic photographer and an environmentalist, Ansel Adams also was a great teacher of his art.   He did the whole gamet: wrote series of instructional books, taught photography workshops and college classes, and was involved in research. At first, Adams published essays in photography magazines. Then in 1935, he wrote his first instructional book ‘Making a photograph: An introduction to photography. ’. This is now a ‘rare’,photography ‘how to’- book.


Another well-known book by Ansel Adams is ‘The Camera‘. It is a photography classic, which is illustrated with some of the most welll-known photos by Adams.  A second book is called ‘The Print’. And a third instructional manual is called The Negative‘. These three books form the core of the legendary series of technical instructional manuals, first published by And Adams in the early 1950s.



Ansel Adams Workshops & Classes

In 1940 he began teaching a series of workshops, which then evolved into the annual photography workshops he led in Yosemite – Carmel from 1955 to1984.  He taught at the San Francisco Art Institute. There is well known for his work in codifying a method for negative and print exposure, called the Zone System. The zone system is still taught today at the institute and beyond, amongst others as the basis for intuitive photography.


Other Articles Relating to Ansel Adams

The Best of Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams: Art from His Secret Closet, ON EXHIBIT

Photography as Fine Art

Timeline of Art History ~ United States & Canada  ~ 1900 to present

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