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Post-Post Script: Writing this essay has given me a reason to read up further on Adams and his work. Here are some interesting facts about him:


1.  Adams was trained as a classical pianist and aspired to a career in music before switching to professional photography in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Throughout his career as a photographer, he was a noted environmentalist and member of the Sierra Club. But he later said that his great photographs were not taken for environmental reasons, but simply because he loved the mountains.


2.  In 1941, the U.S. Department of Interior commissioned Adams to create a mural for its Washington, D.C. office. Adams took photographs in parks in California, New Mexico, Arizona and other western states, before the mural was cancelled at the outbreak of World War II. These images are available from U.S. National Archives at http://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams/. Many of them are rougher looking than his famous images, but still show his compositional skills.


3.  Adams was upset by the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and put together a book of text and photographs on the Manzanar Relocation Center in Inyo County, California. The book is available at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/anseladams/aamborn.html. The same camp was documented by activist photographer Dorothea Lange, who criticized Adams for too soft an approach. Notwithstanding Lange’s comments, Adams was criticized by others for questioning the internment.





All Images © Tom Onyshko, 2017