Tag Archives: photography

Ansel Adams’ Birthday

ansel adamsAmerican landscape photographer and environmentalist, Ansel Adams, was born on February 20, 1902. He became well-known for his large detailed monochrome images of nature, especially photographs from Yosemite National Park in California.

Born in San Francisco, Adams was mostly home schooled as a child after being kicked out of several schools due to his bad behavior. Adams’ first creative passion was the piano, and at age 14, he began to discover his love for photography after a trip to Yosemite National Park. His love turned to obsession and a discovery of his life’s work. He attended camera clubs, poured over photography magazines, and studied darkroom techniques. In the 1920s, he began developing and selling his snapshots in the Yosemite Valley at Best Studio. He married the owner’s daughter, Virginia Best, who inherited the studio when her father died. Adams helped run the studio until 1971, and it was renamed Ansel Adams Gallery.

After publishing Parmelian Prints of the High Sierrashis first portfolio, Adams began to gain considerable fame. The portfolio contained one of his most famous images, “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome,” and he was hired for many commercial assignments following his portfolio’s publication. He became the first person to produce a commissioned photographic portrait of a photographer when he was hired to take President Jimmy Carter‘s portrait. Adams dabbled in many different photography techniques ranging from soft-focus images to etching, but over time his style developed into detailed close-ups and large-format photographs, recognized for their stark contrast and intense exposure.

ansel adams2The photographer had close relationships with other artists including Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe and Paul Strand. As a member of the environmental preservation organization, the Sierra Club, since age 17, Adams was known for his environmentalism and worked with photographers Dorthea Lange and Walker Evans on creating social and political change through art. He produced photo essays to advocate wilderness protection, especially in Yosemite, and wartime injustice through his photographs of WWII Japanese internment camps. In 1946, he photographed every national park in the United States as part of his Guggenheim Fellowship. He also helped to found what is one of the most popular photography magazines, Aperture.

As photography transformed into a more greatly appreciated art form, Adams began showing his work in galleries more often, and presented a photographic retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1974. His photographs were in such high demand, that he spent most of his time in the late ’70s printing negatives of his previous work.

In 1984, Adams suffered a heart attack and died in Monterey, California at the age of 82.

Adams has inspired many modern-day photographers with the visualization techniques he used in producing images. He would imagine the image he wanted to create in his “mind’s eye,” and use this meditative state to create his photographs. One of Adams’ favorite Gaelic quotes and words he lived by were, “I know that I am one with beauty and that my comrades are one. Let our souls be mountains, let our spirits be stars, let our hearts be worlds.”

Sources: Biography.com, Huffington Post, Wikipedia

 

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Interview with Jennifer Holland

Jennifer Holland is a senior writer for National Geographic magazine, specializing in science and natural history. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, two dogs, and dozens of snakes and geckos; none of whom, to her dismay, have crossed the species barrier to befriend the others.

You can enter to win the 2013 Unlikely Friendships Wall Calendar autographed by Jennifer Holland in our 30 Days of Giveaways contest! We have several other great prizes to give away in November as well.

What is your definition of friendship?
Friendship is a relationship in which you can be yourself—sing off key, cry openly, watch bad reality television, compare intimate notes. A friend is allowed to tell you that you’re being a jerk and expected to tell you that you have spinach in your teeth.

Where did you get your inspiration for this project?
My love for animals is in my DNA; my mother was a huge fan of every little critter (minus roaches) and I’m now carrying that torch. This particular project just made sense: sweet animal stories and adorable photos make people happy. People pass animal pictures and videos on the Web probably more than anything else. It’s a hard world out there…we all need a little reprieve.

What is you unlikeliest friendship?
Wow, hard question!!  I guess I’d have to say the one with my Mom. She passed away about 7 years ago but our friendship has continued in a certain way…I “talk” to her in my head all the time, asking her for advice or expressing my worries and frustrations. I’m not religious or anything, but it’s comforting to pretend she’s listening.

How do you select which images should be included and how do you come up with the stories?
I look for the stories everywhere—and ask friends and family to clue me in if they hear of something. I contact wildlife and rescue centers, zoos, any facility where unlikely friendships might occur.  I scour the Web, where so many stories make rounds. As for images, we simply look for the very best, sweetest, most intimate moments we can find.

What is your favorite story you have written for an image so far? Why?
Hard to pick a true favorite but I loved the story of the cat and the iguana. Iguanas aren’t really that nice. So to see one that liked having its face licked by a cat, that was hard to beat. I also loved the dog-cheetah story because of the conservation aspect. (Dogs are trained in Namibia to protect cheetahs from farmers by scaring the cats away. But in captivity here in the States, the same kinds of dogs help keep cheetahs calm.)

What is your favorite photograph from the 2013 Wall Calendar?
That cover photo, of the young chimp with the white tiger cub, is amazing. If ever animals looked to be smiling and full of joy, that’s the moment!

What is your favorite wild animal? Domestic animal?
I wouldn’t dare choose favorites and disappoint all the others! But I can say that I love octopi for their amazing smarts and behaviors. They’re certainly not cute and furry, but I think they’re loveable anyway. I also have a special place in my heart for wolves, dolphins, and underappreciated slow lorises (tiny primates). As for domestic animals, I’m definitely a dog person. I have three of them and my life is chaos as a result. Wouldn’t have it any other way (unless I had room for 4).

What is your next big goal for your life?
I’m working on 2 books and an article at the moment. If I can get all three projects done on deadline without imploding, that would be a big step forward.

If you had to do anything else, what would it be?
Not surprisingly, I might want to run a wildlife rescue center. Or travel the world in search of emerging artists. Or just spend my days antiquing in small towns.

What one calendar, other than yours, could you not get through the year without?
The one on my phone. I never know what day or date it is but my phone always knows.

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National Camera Day

The camera has come a long way from the optical device it was developed from – the camera obscura, or pinhole camera, which could be a portable box or an entire room! Nowadays, not only can you take a decent picture with your phone, but you can instantly share your captured memories via social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and the increasingly popular Instagram.

Celebrate National Camera Day by taking pictures, of course! Use your digital camera or camera phone or travel back in time and make your own pinhole camera. Capture your family, a beautiful landscape or seascape, portraits of friends or complete strangers (with their permission, of course), close ups of nature, anything you want! Don’t forget to edit your pictures! If you have access to a dark room, take pictures with a 35mm camera and develop your own film.

National Camera Day is also the perfect opportunity to focus on your photography skills:

Sources: Holiday Insights, SquidooWikipedia

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