Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ansel Adams

© The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

© The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

I am probably not the only one who has come to appreciate art through enjoyment of black and white photography. The reason why, I think, is the rendering of light. Black and white photographs show us how important light is to any visual experience, and in doing this, they have something in common with impressionist-inspired paintings like the one I showed in a former post. Somehow, the importance of light becomes more apparent in black and white photos than in color photos. Probably because of the substantial degree of abstraction that is at work when colors are replaced by shades of gray.

The first few years I lived in New York, I used to go to the International Center of Photography quite often. And Ansel Adams was a favorite artist. I had a calendar with his photographs in my kitchen. I even visited Yosemite and Death Valley on a cross country trip, to get a live experience of the beauty Adams had shown me. Those places are definitely beautiful, but I didn't quite manage to see them the same way in real life.

I have uploaded a version of the top picture which is quite detailed (hopefully it is not too large for your connection...). But standing in front of the original print is obviously totally different. You just have to imagine seeing all the rich details and depth of shade in "Moon and half Dome", Yosemite National Park, 1960. And can you see how well the shades of gray sculpt the dunes in "Sand Dunes, Sunrise, Death Valley National Monument, California, 1948"?


Katsdeelite said...

Thank you for your interesting thoughts and pictures. I love Georgia O'Keeffe's face and paintings, too. I lived in New Mexico and had ample opportunity to see the vistas and landscapes that were reflected in her works.
I live in Phoenix, and your blog has made me want to go back for another visual feast!

CELINE said...

Oh, that's so nice to hear. Thank you!
The Arizona landscape is fascinating, as well, though. And, like New Mexico, it's so different from Western Norway where I live now. I remember especially well the strange atmosphere in the little mountain town Jerome.