Ansel

This fall UT‘s Harry Ransom Center is hosting an Ansel Adams exhibit containing 126 of his prints. Thanks to my Dad’s bug for photography I have always known two Ansel Adams was, and have always been a fan. I just had to go see this collection while its in my city. This afternoon we went to see it, and it is amazing!

There are two things that I have always loved about Adams work; first, he composes an image by finding the perfect perspective of his object and then waiting for the lighting conditions to suit his ‘frame’, and second, he doesn’t show you nature the way it is, he finds a way to show it to you the way he sees it. Brilliant!

I don’t fully know how to explain my favorite pictures of his, but I’ll try. They have a structure which draws your attention, but they also have a component of randomness or chaos which distracts you, makes you question what you’re looking at. And after staring at the image for a while, it starts to make sense again. I had this experience with at least a dozen images.

I’ve been to the HRC before, but I had forgotten how impressive it is. They also had their copy of the Gutenberg Bible on display, as well as the first photograph ever taken (!). I wish that we could have spent more time there, I may try to go back.

The exhibit continues through January 1 and is free. You should make the effort, its worth it.

One reply on “Ansel”

  1. Your comment about the distracting element of randomness is right-on. I think that comes from the fact that the sky tends to play such an important role in his compositions. That comes from the waiting for just the right conditions of course. Too bad HRC doesn’t have a permanent Adams collection. I’d probably be a regular.

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