Watch BBC’s ‘Master Photographers: Ansel Adams’ Right Now
In 1983, the BBC aired a documentary series called “Master Photographers” interviewing and showcasing some of the most influential photographers of all time – from Alfred Eisenstaedt to Bill Brandt to Andre Kertesz. In this episode, the great Ansel Adams and his penchant for cowboy hats and bolo ties. Adams was unquestionably brilliant. It’s one thing to read his thoughts from a book; it’s another thing entirely to hear them.
My personal favorite moment in the documentary is when he goes through three entirely different processes of the same negative, some processed with years in between. Ansel Adams, in his earlier years, was a pianist. He compares the original negative to the score of a composer. The print is the performance, and the performance could be interpreted in different ways and with different feelings depending on who was creating them. Ansel was, of course, always the master.