Posted by: Jodi | February 20, 2011

Quickly Quotable #47 – Ansel Adams

Oak Tree Sunset

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”

“Millions of men have lived to fight, build palaces and boundaries, shape destinies and societies; but the compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation profoundly affecting the roots of human spirit.”

“Myths and creeds are heroic struggles to comprehend the truth in the world.”

“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.”

“The only things in my life that compatibly exists with this grand universe are the creative works of the human spirit.”

“To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things.”

Ansel Adams

  • Born: 20 February 1902
  • Birthplace: San Francisco, California
  • Died: 22 April 1984
  • Best Known As: Nature photographer of the American west

Ansel Adams’s stark, detailed photographs of Yosemite National Park are among the most recognizable images in the world. Adams was a piano player who turned his attention to photography in the 1920s, inspired by the wilderness of central California. By the end of the 1920s he was earning a living from his photography, thanks largely to his association with the Sierra Club. In the 1930s and ’40s his reputation grew and he spent a good deal of time in New York, advancing his career as an artist while working as a commercial photographer to pay the bills. He wrote many technical works and encouraged museums and colleges to add photography departments, but didn’t achieve financial success for his art until late in life, when his images of Yosemite and the American southwest became icons of both 20th-century photography and environmental awareness. Like guitarist Les Paul, Adams was known both as a technical innovator and a lifelong workhorse; he kept taking photos up until his death at age 82.

According to a biography by William Turnage, “When Adams was only four, an aftershock of the great [San Francisco] earthquake and fire of 1906 threw him to the ground and badly broke his nose, distinctly marking him for life.”

Biography from Answers.com
Quotes from BrainyQuote.com
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Responses

  1. “The only things in my life that compatibly exists with this grand universe are the creative works of the human spirit.”

    This is for all the people out there (none of whom read this blog, by the way) who don’t understand art and creative expression.

    • I was pleasantly surprised at how many of his quotes while geared toward photography, encompassed all creative endeavors.

  2. Interesting. I have no argument with anything he says here, but his photogrphy is far easier to understand and appreciate than his rather “dense” (in terms of accessibility, not intelligence) comments. His photography is sublime. He was the first to excite me about the limitless “colorful” aspects of black and white photography. I had never appreciated the implied colors inherent in B&W until I first studied his work.

    • I had never thought of his B&W work that way but now that you say it it makes total sense. The absence of color makes the mind seek it out in a abstract way.

  3. Love his work, and enjoyed this quote:

    “To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things.”

    When we are mindful, we do see “beneath the surface” at the underlying quality of people, places, and things.

    Thanks, Jo.

  4. I loved this quote too!

  5. […] Quickly Quotable #47 – Ansel Adams (myliteraryquest.wordpress.com) Share this: […]


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