Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ansel Adams; Cascade Glacier National Park, Montana 1942

Ansel Adams; Cascade Glacier National Park, Montana 1942
Artwork Details
Dimensions:  Image: 31.7cm x 20.5cm
Medium:  Gelatin silver print
Creation Date:  1942

I chose Ansel Adams for my first personal artist examination assignment because Adams is one of the most renowned black and white, nature photographers in American history. Adams used a photographic process known as “straight photography”, in which the photographer uses a clear lens and little or no darkroom manipulation in order to present the most realistic view of pictures taken. Adams would eventually become known for his unbridled enthusiasm in the process of “straight photography.” However by using processes known as “burning and dodging” and his personal creation of the Zone system Ansel was able to manipulate photographic tonality. This allowed him to “create instead of simply record.” Because of this style of photography and his vast knowledge of photographic technical aspects Adams was able to become one of the most recognizable names in the black and white production of landscape portraits.
This photo produced by Ansel Adams I found to be amazing because of its setting and use of shutter speed manipulation. In this picture the setting is remarkable because the flowing of the water appears to be moving down a set of stairs or large cliffs. This idea is unique because there are no other objects in the photo that allow this setting to be estimated in size. Therefore this flow of water could be a trickling stream down a small rock staircase or this could be a mighty river cascading down an enormous set of cliffs. I also really appreciate this picture because of its apparent use of shutter speed manipulation. It can be seen that river flowing from the sky appears blurry and therefore Adams used a slow shutter speed meanwhile keeping all of the motionless objects in perfect view. When trying to find a flaw in this picture I find it very difficult because in my opinion this picture has so many different meanings and metaphors that it can promote. For example the first thing I noticed aside from this being a beautiful photograph of a flowing water fall, is the fact that this picture makes it appear that this water is flowing directly from the sky. Being that I have a strong background in Greek mythology I determined that this picture produces an idea that water is in fact a gift from the gods that sit a top mount Olympus. Although this is only one interpretation the sheer beauty and setting produced in the photograph allows for viewers to have a variety of possible interpretations.

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