"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." -Ansel Adams. This quote was from a famous photographer turned conservationist in the early part of the last century, and yet it is so befitting for our country today. Ansel Adams was a photographer, environmentalist, and devoted husband. He was born in San Francisco in 1902 living with his mother and father. His father was a businessman, and both his parents were always socially and emotionally conservative. As a result, growing up Adams was shy, which did not help him get along with other kids in school. Eventually his aunt and father tutored him instead of public and/or private schooling. He ended up getting a legalizing diploma or the equivalent to graduating the eighth grade. With all the time he had as a child, while not going to school, he found himself with a love of nature. Visiting Yosemite Park especially took him to another place, where he had self-confidence and better self-esteem. In 1919 he joined the sierra club, which focused on preserving nature. In 1928 he married his wife who he had meet there. Adams had his first one-man exhibition that year at the club's San Francisco headquarters, after a time he realized that he could make a living off of his photos and by 1934 he was elected to the clubs board of directors and was well established. Going into the 1960s Adams wrote thousands of letters to newspaper editors, government bureaucrats, and politicians to support his conservation beliefs. "For Adams, the environmental issues of particular importance were Yosemite National Park, the national park system, and above all, the preservation of wilderness" (Turnage). A person is a hero because they are able to face difficulty, danger, and/or pain without fear, and animate action or influence. Ansel Adams is a hero because he is courageous, inspirational, and thought of more than himself.
Ansel Adams was courageous because he tersely worked and worked. No stranger to hard work as a child, he continued this well into his career. "He often labored for eighteen or more hours per day, for days and weeks on end. There were no vacations, no holidays, no Sundays in Ansel Adams's life. Frequently, after and intense period of work, he would return to San Francisco or Yosemite, promptly contract the "flu," and spend several days in bed. His hyper-kinetic existence was also fueled by alcohol, for which he had a particular fondness, and a constant whirl of social activity, friends, and colleagues" (Turnage). Ansel Adams was not a type of man to stop working or give up hope that he can't get it done. Landscape photography is a very hard job to have. I took photography first and second trimester and we had an assignment where I learned being a landscape photographer, you have to wait at one location for hours, maybe even the whole day, to get the perfect shot. Adams has determination because he will go anywhere and do anything to get a great photograph that will speak to people. He was also courageous because he would go to any height to get a good photo. "During trips to the High Sierras, he captured large-format, black-and-white images of many of the region's well-known features, including Kings Canyon, Muir Gorge, and the pinnacles at the headwaters of Kings River" (The American landscape through the lens of Ansel Adams). Adams was adventurous, I don't think his job could call for any other type of man, but he specifically was courageously willing to go to all heights to get his message across. Whether it was climbing canyons and waiting there for hours, or crossing rivers while watching a bear catch fish, he would do it. Ansel Adams is a hero because he was determined. As stated earlier landscape photography is challenging work for many reasons. Adams had the courage to sit and wait for the perfect shot or to move on and climb mountains for the perfect shot.
In this article quoted below, Turnage provides detail about how Ansel Adams did what he did for more than himself. "He endlessly traveled the country in pursuit of both the natural beauty... Adams felt an intense commitment to promoting photography as a fine art" (Turnage). He was always thinking of nature in his work and did not like the "commercial" part of photography. He was also trying to bring photography back into the fine art scene and show how amazing it can be without editing it. Ansel Adams is a hero because he thought for more than himself. Similarly, the article entitled "Ansel Adams", states that he was giving and generous with his concern for the environment. "His longtime association with the Sierra Club--he was a director of the organization for over thirty years--gave him a position from which he lobbied government officials (including a number of presidents) to preserve wilderness areas" (Ansel Adams). Ansel Adams had a strong voice, a voice that was respected and well known. But what spoke the loudest was not his voice in his words but his voice in his photographs. He used them as a way through people to get to the government and help his persuade them. Ansel Adams is a hero because he thinks for more than himself. Ansel Adams was able to achieve much as concern to the need to conserve our environment, both thru his personality and his art. He was a giving and generous person.
Ansel Adams was inspiring in this day in age as he was in his own. "Adams was an unremitting activist for the cause of wilderness and the environment. Over the years he attended innumerable meetings and wrote thousands of letters in support of his conservation philosophy to newspaper editors, Sierra Club and Wilderness Society colleagues, government bureaucrats, and politicians" (Turnage). Ansel Adams thrived to get the government to notice the beauty of the land we were living on. Through that he found the people, and the people would make the government hear them. Ansel Adams is inspirational because he was a leader without even knowing it. Finally, it should be argued that Adams is a true influential thinker. "I made a few passable negatives that day and had several exasperating trials with subjects that would not bend to visualization ... But defeat comes occasionally to all photographers, as to all politicians, and there is no use moaning about it" (The American landscape through the lens of Ansel Adams). Ansel Adams saw the world another way. He would not dread on the old, but instead look forward to the new. He was what some might call enlightened, which is a very hard state to get to. Ansel Adams is inspirational because he had a different (better) outlook on life. Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms. For some it is found in the works of others. Ansel Adams was one whose work both behind and in front of the camera were profound, thought out, thought provoking, and inspirational.
As being courageous, inspirational and thinking of more than himself Ansel Adams is my hero. As stated earlier landscape photography is challenging work for many reasons. Adams had the courage to sit and wait for the perfect shot or to move on and climb mountains for the perfect shot. He was able to achieve much as concern to the need to conserve our environment, both thru his personality and his art. He was a giving and generous person. For some inspiration is found in the works of others. Ansel Adams was one whose work both behind and in front of the camera were thought out, and inspirational. Adams inspires others and myself because he changed the way of landscape photographer forever, and brought it back into the high-class art scene. Also he did all that while conserving our environment. Adams was a true believer in what he was doing and because of his beliefs and a little hard work he was able to change the world.
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"The American landscape through the lens of Ansel Adams." New York State Conservationist Feb. 2014: 12+. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 May 2014.
"Ansel Adams." Contemporary Heroes and Heroines. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 1992.Biography in Context. Web. 8 May 2014.
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