Ansel Adams may be the most widely-known artist in the history of photography, but, in addition to the notariety he received for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, Adams had a unique understanding of the physical and technical details of his craft. According to biographer William Turnage,

Adams’s technical mastery was the stuff of legend. More than any creative photographer, before or since, he reveled in the theory and practice of the medium. Weston and Strand frequently consulted him for technical advice. He served as principal photographic consultant to Polaroid and Hasselblad and, informally, to many other photographic concerns. Adams developed the famous and highly complex “zone system” of controlling and relating exposure and development, enabling photographers to creatively visualize an image and produce a photograph that matched and expressed that visualization. He produced ten volumes of technical manuals on photography, which are the most influential books ever written on the subject.

The Digital Camera project on this blog is inspired by three of Adams’ books on the technical aspects of photographyThe Camera, The Negative, and The Print.

Ansel Adams died in 1984.

Ansel Adams in a 1950 photograph from the Yosemite Field School yearbook.



Categories: Ansel Adams


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