Ansel Adams

Who Was Ansel Adams?

Ansel Adams was an American photographer and a conservationist who specialized in black-and-white images of the West, especially Yosemite National Park. His work has been seminal in the appreciation of natural beauty as well as the development of photography both as a medium of art and an instrument for environmental crusaders.

Ansel Adams Biography
Photo: patrons/celeblifegraphy

Early Life

Ansel Easton Adams was born on February 20, 1902, in San Francisco, California. His parents and an aunt homeschooled him, giving him the opportunity to pursue his interests in music, the outdoors, and later photography. Adams’ early interest in music had much relevance to his photographic technique most especially with regards to composition as well as detail.

Furthermore, American Photographer Adams had injuries in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as a child, including a fractured nose that was never properly fixed. Being a sickly and hyperactive child, he had difficulty in school and was frequently expelled for misbehavior. From the age of twelve, he got instruction from family members and private instructors.

In 1916, after a trip to Yosemite National Park, Ansel Adams started playing around with photography. He went to photographic club meetings, taught himself darkroom procedures, and sold his early photos at Yosemite Valley’s Bests Studio.


He wed Virginia Best in 1928; her father ran the studio. The couple continued to manage the studio, which is now known as the Ansel Adams Gallery, until 1971.

Career And Famous Photos

Adams made a significant breakthrough in his career with the release of his debut portfolio, “Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras,” which included his well-known photograph “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome”. He concentrated on capturing large-scale shapes like industries and mountains, as well as intricate close-ups, between 1929 and 1942. He lived and worked in New Mexico alongside artists such as Paul Strand, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Alfred Stieglitz.

Along with Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams American photographer used his art to promote social and political change and to support the preservation of wilderness places. Adams used his camera to capture the injustice of Japanese Americans’ incarceration during World War II.

A few weeks prior to the assault on Pearl Harbor, he took one of his most well-known photos, “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico,” which contributed to his financial security. Over the course of four decades, Adams reimagined the image and produced over a thousand new prints.

Later Life

Adams’ photography was exhibited in sizable galleries and museums by the 1960s, when photography was acknowledged as an art form. A retrospective exhibition of his work was held in 1974 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Throughout the 1970s, Adams printed more negatives in order to satisfy the demand for his famous images.

Awards & Honors

President Jimmy Carter gave Ansel Adams the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980. His contributions to conservation and photography are still honored and acknowledged as contemporary artistic achievements.


American photographer Ansel Adams died on April 22, 1984, at the age of 82, due to a heart attack.

Interesting Facts

  • Article Title: Ansel Adams Biography
  • Full Name: Ansel Easton Adams
  • Birth Year: 1902
  • Birth Date: February 20, 1902
  • Birth State: California
  • Birth City: San Francisco
  • Birth Country: United States
  • Gender: Male
  • Children: Anne Adams, Michael Adams
  • Parents: Charles Hitchcock Adams, Olive Bray Adams
  • Spouse: Virginia Best (m. 1928–1984)
  • Industries: Art
  • Death Year: 1984
  • Death Date: April 22, 1984
  • Death State: California
  • Death City: Monterey
  • Death Country: United States
  • Author: Editors


  • There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
  • You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
  • When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
  • Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.