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Ansel Adams
© J. Malcolm Greany
Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams

Country: United States
Birth: 1902 | Death: 1984

American photographer and environmentalist known for his black and white photographs of the American West in Sierra Nevada and in Yosemite National Park.

Ansel Easton Adams was born in 1902 in an upper-class family. His family migrated from Ireland in the early 1700s. He was the only child of Charles and Olive Adams. His paternal grandfather founded a successful lumber business, which was later run by Ansel’s father. His mother’s family came from Baltimore. His maternal grandfather had a successful Freight-Hauling business, but squandered his wealth in numerous investment ventures. His nose was broken and scared during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 as an aftershock threw him up against a wall. After the death of his grandfather the family business was hit by the bank crisis of 1907 and by 1912, his family’s standard of living had been dearly impacted.

Ansel was a hyperactive child prone to sickness. After being expelled from several schools due to his restlessness, at age 12, his father decided to tutor him at home with the help of professors and Ansel’s aunt.

He soon became interested in music and started learning the piano, but all changed when aged 14, his aunt gave him a copy of “In the Heart of the Sierras”. The photographs by Georges Fiske were a revelation and Ansel persuaded his parents to visit Yosemite National Park during the following vacations. Equiped with a Kodak Box Brownie n°1, Ansel Adams first visited Yosemite National Park in 1916. Amazed by the site and the light, he returned to Yosemite National Park the following year with better cameras and a tripod. He will return regularly to Yosemite National Park where he will even meet his future wife, Virginia Best. At age 17, Adams joined the Sierra Club, a wildlife preservation group. He will remain a convinced environmentalist and a member of the Sierra Club his entire life. His work will promote the goals of the Sierra Club and bring environmental issues to light. In 1932, Adams founded the group f/64 with photographer friend Edward Weston, to promote their independent and modernist vision of photography. It is with Fred Archer that Adams will develop the Zone System (1939-40), a technique which allows photographers to define the proper exposure on negatives and adjust the contrasts on the prints. The depth and clarity of Ansel Adam’s photographs illustrate this technique. Initially, despite their size and weight, Ansel Adams used large format cameras as they offered a high resolution and a sharp image.

The timeless photographs and the striking visual beauty clearly characterize Ansel Adams’ photographs. In 1952, he was also one of the founders of Aperture magazine. He died in 1984 from a cardio Vascular disease. Shortly after his death in 1984, the Minarets Wilderness in the Inyo National Forest was renamed the Ansel Adams Wilderness. In 1985, a peak in Sierra Nevada, was named Mount Ansel Adams. He was survived by his wife, two children and 5 grand children.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Lucien Clergue
France
1934 | † 2014
Lucien Clergue was born in Arles. From the age of 7, he learned to play the violin. Several years later, his teacher revealed to him that he had nothing more to teach him. From a family of shopkeepers, he could not pursue further studies in a conservatory. In 1949, he learned the rudiments of photography. Four years later, at a corrida in Arles, he showed his photographs to Pablo Picasso who, though subdued, demanded to see others. Within a year and a half, young Clergue worked with the goal of sending photos to Picasso. During this period, he worked on a series of photographs of traveling entertainers, acrobats and harlequins, the 'Saltimbanques'. He also worked on a series whose subject was carrion. On 4 November 1955, Lucien Clergue visited Picasso in Cannes. Their friendship lasted near 30 years until the death of the Master. The book, Picasso my friend retraces the important moments of their relation. Clergue has taken many photographs of the gypsies of southern France, and he was instrumental in propelling the guitarist Manitas de Plata to fame. In 1968 he founded, along with his friend Michel Tournier the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival which is held in Arles in July. His works was presented during the festival from 1971–1973, 1975, 1979, 1982–1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 2000, 2003, 2007. Clergue has illustrated books, among these a book by writer Yves Navarre. Clergue’s photographs are in the collections of numerous well-known museums and private collectors. His photographs have been exhibited in over 100 solo exhibitions worldwide, with noted exhibitions such as 1961, Museum of Modern Art New York, the last exhibition organized by Edward Steichen with Lucien Clergue, Bill Brandt and Yasuhiro Ishimoto. Museums with extensive inventory of photographs by Lucien Clergue include The Fogg Museum at Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His photographs of Jean Cocteau are on permanent display at the Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton, France. In the US, the exhibition of photographs of Jean Cocteau was premiered by Westwood Gallery, New York City. In 2007, the city of Arles honored Lucien Clergue and dedicated a retrospective collection of 360 his photographs dating from 1953 to 2007. He also received the 2007 Lucie Award. He is named knight of the Légion d'honneur in 2003 and elected member of the Academy of Fine Arts of the Institute of France on 31 May 2006, on the creation of a new section dedicated to photography. Clergue is the first photographer to enter the Academy to a seat devoted to photography.Source: Wikipedia Lucien Clergue was a pioneering French photographer who devoted his career to elevating photography to a high art, on par with the leading artistic medium of his day, painting. He is best known for his black-and-white portraits of Pablo Picasso, immortalized in his photobook Picasso My Friend (1993). The Spanish painter was an early advocate of Clergue’s artistic practice, and they would maintain a lifelong friendship and collaboration. Clergue’s work encompassed landscapes, portraits, and still lifes, with his studies of the female nude generating particular acclaim. He was born on August 14, 1934 in Arles, France, where he founded Les Recontres de la Photographie d’Arles, an international festival of photography, in 1969. Clergue achieved widespread critical recognition for his work after it was exhibited in 1961 at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, where Edward Steichen gave the artist his first solo show at the museum. In 2006, he was the first photographer to be elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, where he served as president during 2013. Clergue died on November 15, 2014 in Nîmes, France at the age of 80.Source: Artnet
Patrick Zachmann
Patrick Zachmann (b. 1955) has been a freelance photographer since 1976. He joined Magnum in 1985 and became a member in 1990. Zachmann has dedicated himself to long-term projects on the cultural identity, memory, and immigration of different communities. In 1989, his story on the events of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square was widely published in the international press and his work was awarded the prestigious Prix Niepce. Zachmann’s published books include Enquête d’Identité ou Un Juif à la recherche de sa mémoire (1987) and W. ou L’Œil d’un Long Nez (1995). Zachmann’s directed films include the short film, La Mémoire de Mon Père (My Father’s Memory), and the feature-length films Allers-retour: Journal d’un Photographe (Round trip: diary of a photographer) and Bar Centre des AutocarsSource: The Eye of Photography For more than 40 years, Patrick Zachmann has produced acclaimed, long-term projects that use photography and film to explore themes of memory, identity and immigration. He has documented the Chinese Diaspora, Jewish identity and the plight of migrants in Marseilles, all the while pushing himself to subvert his ‘style’ by working with both analogue and digital, colour and black and white, and using multimedia formats. “I don’t want to repeat myself like many photographers do by developing a special style,” he says of his practice. Zachmann was born in 1955 in Choisy-le-Roi, France and became a freelance photographer in 1976. In 1982 he began an in-depth project on the Naples police and mafia, which resulted in his first monograph, Madonna! (1983), accompanied by a fictional novel inspired by his pictures. Following that he began a seven-year study of Jewish identity in France—finishing with his own family—which resulted in his second book, Enquête d’identité. Un Juif à la Recherche de sa Mémoire / Investigation of Identity. A Jew in Search of his Memory (1987). In 1989, his coverage of the events in Tiananmen Square, Beijing was widely published in the international press. In the same year, he was awarded the prestigious Prix Niépce for his work. To mark the twentieth anniversary of the events on Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989, Zachmann made a web-documentary Generation Tiananmen in 2009, shown on Le Monde, Der Spiegel and Al Jazeera’s websites. He is represented by Magnum Gallery, Clair Gallery (München) and Beaugeste Gallery (Shanghai).Source: Wikipedia
Ed Sievers
United States
1932 | † 2002
Ed Sievers was born in 1932 in St. Louis, MO, the son of a family doctor that made house calls and an aspiring opera singer. He attended Grinnell College, graduating with a degree in Speech in 1954. His first job was as a creative writer for Hallmark Cards. The slogans he penned were notable for the wry wit and wisdom with which he commented on the human condition. At the same time, his interest in the arts was expanding from the literary to the visual, and would ultimately lead him in a new direction. In 1966 he was accepted into the MFA program at the Rhode Island School of Design to study photography with Harry Callahan. Upon graduation in 1968 he joined the faculty of California State University, Northridge, as a specialist in fine art photography. He took up residence in the Carlton Hotel in Venice Beach and soon realized he had walked into a street photographer's dream. Originally designed as a resort community modeled after its Italian namesake, Venice had fallen on hard times. Buildings were in disrepair and rents were cheap. Influenced by the Bohemian lifestyle of its poets, artists, students and a struggling lower class, the boardwalk suddenly sprang to life. There were musicians, dancers, jugglers, mimes, magicians, comedians, roller skaters, fortune tellers, gritty street people and colorful hippies. And, of course, there was the sprawling nude beach. Throngs of gapers flocked from throughout Southern California to enjoy the expressive spirit of the moment. But that was only on weekends. A quieter, more sensitive mood prevailed during the week. The gentle gestures of holocaust survivors at the Israel Levin Center. The recovering alcoholics quietly heading home after Al-Anon meetings. The homeless searching for food and drink. The once cheerful cottages longing for attention. The iconic murals. The myopic murals. The motions of a people not sure of what lay ahead. Within a decade the Venice that Ed knew had been swallowed up by rampant commercialism and the inexorable influx of the nouveau riche. Upon his death in 2002, the Edwin R. Sievers Memorial Award was established to share his vision with future students; "His approach to photography was straight forward: use the nuances of available light to enhance the subject, whatever that may be: ordinary, quirky, or sublime." Source: Robert Mann Gallery
José Ramón Bas
In 1979 José Ramón Bas was teaching himself photography when he met photographer Florencio García Méndez, who gave him a helping hand. In 1985 he began formal studies at the Escuela de la Imagen y el Diseño (IDEP) in Barcelona, where he was quickly attracted to contemporary forms of expression and the theme of travel memories. In 1989 he moved definitively to Barcelona and in 1997 he won the La Caixa Foundation’s Fotopress Award for young artists. He began working with the Berini Gallery in Barcelona and in 1998 moved into a studio in the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Piramidón. After joining Galerie VU’ in 2001, he won the Federico Vender Prize in Italy in 2003, followed by the Arena Foundation Prize in 2004. In 2005 he began teaching the Masters in Creative Photography at EFTI in Madrid. He has exhibited in Holland, Boston, Lisbon and elsewhere.Source: www.rencontres-arles.com "He is an incurable traveller. He is a poet; to him it's like breathing. He is unclassifiable and, being in love with spaces and people, he invents objets that preserve the memory of his experiences and his emotions. He is not concerned about building a body of work but rather endeavors to reproduce times spent traveling in Africa, Cuba or Brazil. During his travels, he photographs, in a playful, compulsive way. Then, when he gets back to Barcelona, he looks at his contact sheets and decides to transform the images that he has recorded into objets. He prints them, with little interest for technique, and then he works on them: he may write on the proof, scratch it, or mistreat it, depending on the mood or inspiration of the moment, before setting it in a resin inclusion and dedicating it, between imagery and sculpture, to its status as an objet. For him, each negative is an opening onto infinite possibilities, which he will realize in various formats, from the square to the panoramic, and which are to convey his memory of the travel experience. Then, his parallelepipeds, which are lighter than air, occupy the wall with subtlety and encourage us to dream and be at peace."-- Christian Caujolle, Agence VU’ Galerie Source: Galerie VU
Arnold Newman
United States
1918 | † 2006
Arnold Abner Newman (March 3, 1918 – June 6, 2006) was an American photographer, noted for his "environmental portraits" of artists and politicians. He was also known for his carefully composed abstract still-life images. Born in Manhattan, Newman grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and later moved to Miami Beach, Florida. In 1936, he studied painting and drawing at the University of Miami. Unable to afford to continue after two years, he moved to Philadelphia to work for a studio, making 49-cent portraits in 1938. Newman returned to Florida in 1942 to manage a portrait studio in West Palm Beach. Three years later, he opened his own business in Miami Beach. In 1946, Newman relocated to New York, opened Arnold Newman Studios and worked as a freelance photographer for Fortune, LIFE, and Newsweek. Though never a member, Newman frequented the Photo League during the 1940s. Newman found his vision in the empathy he felt for artists and their work. Although he photographed many personalities—Marlene Dietrich, John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Mickey Mantle, and Audrey Hepburn—he maintained that even if the subject is not known, or is already forgotten, the photograph itself must still excite and interest the viewer. Arnold Newman is often credited with being the photographer who articulated and who consistently employed the genre of environmental portraiture, in which the photographer uses a carefully framed and lit setting, and its contents, to symbolize the individual's life and work; a well-known example being his portrait of Igor Stravinsky in which the lid of his grand piano forms a gargantuan musical note representative of the melodic structure of the composer's work. Newman normally captured his subjects in their most familiar surroundings with representative visual elements showing their professions and personalities. A musician for instance might be photographed in their recording studio or on stage, a Senator or other politician in their office or a representative building. Using a large-format camera and tripod, he worked to record every detail of a scene. Newman's best-known images were in black and white, although he often photographed in color. His 1946 black and white portrait of Stravinsky seated at a grand piano became his signature image, even though it was rejected by Harper's Bazaar, the magazine that gave the assignment to Newman. He was one of the few photographers allowed to make a portrait of the famously camera-shy Henri Cartier-Bresson. Among Newman's best-known color images is an eerie portrait from 1963 that shows former Nazi industrialist and minister of armament Alfried Krupp in one of Krupp's factories. Newman admits his personal feelings influenced his portrayal of Krupp. On December 19, 2005, Newman made his last formal portrait of director James (Jimmy) Burrows at the NBC studio on the Saturday Night Live stage. This session was particularly special for Newman because he had photographed Jimmy's father Abe Burrows several times.Source: Wikipedia Arnold Newman (1918-2006) is acknowledged as one of the great masters of the 20th and 21st century and his work has changed portraiture. He is recognized as the “Father of Environmental Portraiture.” His work is collected and exhibited in the major museums around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Chicago Art Institute; The Los Angeles Museum of Art; The Philadelphia Museum; The Tate and the National Portrait Gallery, London; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and many other prominent museums in Europe, Japan, South America, Australia, etc. Newman was an important contributor to publications such as The New Yorker, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, LIFE, Look, Holiday, Harper's Bazaar, Esquire, Town and Country, Scientific American, New York Times Magazine, and many others. There are numerous books published of Newman’s work in addition to countless histories of photography, catalogues, articles and television programs. He received many major awards by the leading professional organizations in the U.S. and abroad including the American Society of Media Photographers, The International Center of Photography, The Lucie Award, The Royal Photographic Society Centenary Award as well as France’s “Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.” In 2005, Photo District News named Newman as one of the 25 most influential living photographers. In 2006, Newman was awarded The Gold Medal for Photography by The National Arts Club. He is the recipient of nine honorary doctorates and has lectured and conducted workshops throughout the country and the world. Arnold Newman died on June 6, 2006 in New York City. He was 88 years old.Source: arnoldnewman.com Arnold Newman is widely renowned for pioneering and popularizing the environmental portrait. With his method of portraiture, he placed his sitters in surroundings representative of their professions, aiming to capture the essence of an individual’s life and work. Though this approach is commonplace today, his technique was highly unconventional in the 1930s when began shooting his subjects as such. He is also known for his carefully composed, abstract still lifes.Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery "We do not take pictures with our cameras, but with our hearts and minds,” so said Arnold Newman, one of the world's best-known and most admired photographers to have ever lived. Known for his “environmental portraits” of artists and politicians, he captured the essence of his subjects by showing them in their natural surroundings. As he said, “I didn't just want to make a photograph with some things in the background. The surroundings had to add to the composition and the understanding of the person. No matter who the subject was, it had to be an interesting photograph. Just to simply do a portrait of a famous person doesn't mean a thing.” Newman was a master at composition and was meticulous about his work. He even used a large-format camera and tripod to ensure that every detail of a scene was recorded. His signature image, the one most will remember him by, is the last one in this post. It's a beautiful, black and white portrait of Russian Composer Igor Stravinsky seated at a grand piano. Look closely and you'll notice that the piano was strategically silhouetted against a blank wall, creating an illusion that the lid is an abstract musical note.Source: My Modern Met
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