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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about... Ansel Adams, the visionary photographer who died 15 years ago this month. His work spanned 70 years and shaped America's vision of its West.


CURWOOD: Fifteen years ago this month, the visionary photographer Ansel Adams died at 84. Born in San Francisco, Mr. Adams took his first snapshots at age 14 while on vacation in Yosemite National Park. He would return to Yosemite every year for the rest of his life, and the park's landscape would become the subject of his most celebrated work. In 1924, Mr. Adams joined the Sierra Club and published his first photographs in their bulletin. He remained active in the organization for almost 50 years and consulted with several US Presidents. In 1930, Mr. Adams met the photographer Paul Strand in New Mexico. Mr. Adams was impressed by the clarity and detail of Strand's work, a style that contrasted with the soft, impressionistic photos then in vogue. Two years later, Mr. Adams helped found a group called F-64, which championed large-format cameras and small aperture settings to sharpen images and increase depth of field. In the years that followed, Ansel Adams' work would shape America's vision of its West. He taught a generation of photographers and left behind images so vivid that many viewers felt they could put their hands into the photographs and touch mountaintops, rivers, and trees. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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