There is a good reason that Ansel Adams' name has stood the test of time through the years. As one of the photographers in history who gets studied the most, Adams' work continues to be used as an example to photography classes and studies around the world. One of the reasons why he is still revered around the world is because of how carefully his images were crafted and how difficult they are to recreate. Digital and printed recreations of his images just don't quite have quite the depth and quality that his original prints do.One of the reasons why his work is so intrinsically unique comes from his careful creation of film negatives and his mastery of darkroom image processing.
In this video, Ted Forbes highlights some of the elements in Adams' work that really set him apart from other photographers during his career as well as photographers today. A true study of the work by Adams would take much more time than a short article and a YouTube video, but this short documentary goes over enough that it paints a good picture as to why Adams' work is still relevant today as are his approaches to photography. There are several techniques that he used in his work within the darkroom that simply don't translate into digital photography. There are, however, many characteristics demonstrated in Adam's photography that can be studied and incorporated into photography today.
His approach to composing his images is one of meticulous thought and deliberate choice. Whenever I get the chance to study any of his photographs, I always try and figure out why he chose to include the elements in the scene that are present. How does the foreground play into the composition? Why are the shadows darker in this shot versus other shots? Is he using any leading lines, and if not, why? In his books, Adams' details how much time he would spend in a single location just waiting for the light to get to a certain condition for a single shot. I have always found that every time I study his work that I have something new to take into the field to try and make my own landscape work better than before.
It's true, there are scores of other amazing photographers both in history and present day that are worth learning from. However, there is a very real reason why Ansel Adams continues to be one of the most well-known photographers of all time. His work speaks for itself and there is a massive wealth of knowledge over the craft of photography to be learned from studying his approach. Who are some of your favorite photographers, either in history or present day? Who do you enjoy studying as a way to perfect your own craft?
[via The Art of Photography]