Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams was a twentieth-century photographer known for his black-and-white landscapes, efforts to preserve America’s wilderness, and his association with the Sierra Club. Adams understood how publishing could expand the audience for his work, and much of his popularity is due to the high-quality books and portfolios he published at prices much lower than those of an original print.

Ansel Adams Resource Handout for Classroom or Homeschool: Just $2.00

Ansel Adams at 1005 stars

This outstanding multimedia exhibit from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art focuses on seven important Adams works, and is my pick of the day. With every click, there is something beautiful to explore: a photo, an idea, an audio clip, a video, or an interactive activity. To enlarge the thumbnail photos, use your mouse to manipulate the orange "Zoom" and "Pan" controls. Unfortunately the size of the photos is limited by the fixed size of the exhibit browser.

Ansel Adams DOI Photographs3 stars

In 1941, the National Park Service commissioned Adams to create a photographic mural. Adams was paid about $22 a day and took photos in Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Unfortunately, World War II interrupted the project, and the mural was never completed. This collection of two hundred digitized royalty-free photos is the result of that Department of Interior project. Because these images are in the public domain, they can be freely used for school reports or websites.

Ansel AdamsBiography4 stars

"Adams, Ansel (Feb. 20 1902 Apr. 22 1984), photographer and environmentalist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Charles Hitchcock Adams, a businessman, and Olive Bray." This biography (adapted from American National Biography Online) tells the story of a boy who did not fit in any of the schools he tried, and was most likely hyperactive and dyslexic. Adams' first love was music; he taught himself to play the piano at age twelve. Adams visited Yosemite at the age of fourteen with a Kodak Brownie camera given him by his parents, and eventually gave up a career in music for one in photography.

PBS: Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film5 stars

The Emmy-nominated PBS documentary about Adams' life and work first aired on April 21, 2002. Although designed as a companion to the film, this site also stands alone. It includes a transcript of the film, a timeline that starts in 1839 with the invention of daguerreotype portraits, a gallery of ten photos, and a teacher's guide. Best clicks are the special features such as the interactive tour of a view camera, early footage of Adams hiking through Yosemite, and a discussion on the nature of photography. "Is it a fine art, equivalent to the other visual arts, or a documentary tool, best suited for recording the facts?"

Suffering Under a Great Injustice3 stars

In 1943, Adams documented the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California that interned Japanese Americans during World War II. This Library of Congress exhibit presents "side-by-side digital scans of both Adams's 242 original negatives and his 209 photographic prints, allowing viewers to see his darkroom technique and in particular how he cropped his prints." To view the photos, follow the link to Collection Highlights.

Ansel Adams Resource Handout for Classroom or Homeschool: Just $2.00

Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

Ansel Adams [1902-1984]

Ansel Adams: Manzanar Lesson Plan

Ansel Adams & The Sierra Club

Masters of Photography: Ansel Adams

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Ansel Adams." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 1 Jan. 2003. Web. 30 Aug. 2015. < >.

About This Page

By . Originally published January 1, 2003. Last modified January 1, 2003.

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