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Ansel Adams Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: February 20, 1902 in San Francisco, California
Died: April 22, 1984 in Carmel, California
Biography | show moreshow less
One of America's most famed photographers, ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984) wrote this letter from his family home in San Francisco, where he had lived since 1903. Less than one year later, a pensive Adams would relocate to a magnificently designed new home at Carmel, California, which provided him with a needed change, a stunning ocean view and a more suitable work and exhibit space. In the winter of 1960, only a few months before he sent this letter, Adams had created one of his all-time favorite and most widely recognized photographs, the dramatic Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park. Credited with forging the advent of photography as an accepted form of fine art, the former student of music did not approach the field seriously until 1927. By 1932, he had co-founded the innovative Group f/64, which included noted colleagues Willard Van Dyke, Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston. The Group set a new direction for creative photography by promoting it on its own merits rather than as an imitation of other art forms, which had been the accepted practice in those days. Adams published his first book, Making a Photograph (1935), and taught photography at the Art Center School in Los Angeles in 1940. It was there that he developed the instructional technique called the Zone System: a process of predetermining the tonal values of the subject to be photographed that will reproduce in the final print. This system revolutionized the approach to photography for students and professionals. In securing a place for photography as a fine art, Adams directed the world's first collection of photographs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. A fervent conservationist since his youth, he served as a long-time Director of the Sierra Club. Adams' love of nature and passion for photography are emphasized in his books, including My Camera in the National Parks (1950), Photographs of the Southwest (1976) and Ansel Adams, An Autobiography (1985). In 1980, Adams was honored with the National Medal of Freedom, presented by President Jimmy Carter, for his visionary efforts to preserve nature's beauty "both on film and on Earth."
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