Incredible. It’s the best word to describe Ansel Adams’ photographic creations. After seeing the beauty of black and white contrast in his work, color almost seems boring.

The Photographer

Beginning his artistic life as a pianist, Ansel Adams used the structure and discipline inherent in music to develop his ability to focus on the variations in the beauty of nature. Every picture he took has its own personality and yet reflects his unique style.

The photograph of the roots below is one in a series of three images that seem completely different in angle, size, and subject but are all different parts of the same tree.


“I hope that my work will encourage self expression in others and stimulate the search for beauty and creative excitement in the great world around us.”
—Ansel Adams

Other artists have done exactly that, but in an effort to produce works similar to his. The fascinating thing about his style is its versatility. An example below of the moon, by National Geographic photographer Peter Essick, reminds us of Adams’s work.


The Vision

Adams was famous for taking an uninteresting object and creating a fascinating photo. For instance, in reality the subject below was an old adobe in the middle of nowhere.

Ansel Adams’ artistic eye, however, recreated it with perspective, angles and minor treatments – showing us how the ordinary can be made into a great work of art.

National Archives

The Details

His attention to detail was not small either. Below is an example of how a simple shot of nature haunts us with the beauty in isolation.

Half Dome

The Contrast

Clearly, one of Ansel Adams’ greatest skills was his use of contrast. This is proven in the way he used the dark and light patches to bring your eyes to the purpose of the piece – the delicate intricacy of each individual leaf and frond.

Yosemite Leaves

The Beauty

Again, the high contrast in this photo sets your eye right on the waterfall and makes it pop away from the rest of the image.

Yosemite Falls

The Genius

Photography was a budding medium for artists at the beginning of the 20th century. But this nature-lover turned photographer developed a way of seeing the great outdoors, simple people and lonely artifacts, and crafting works of original art.

In every photo, he managed to tell a story. All photographers should see things the way he did. Unique, and with a spectacular story to tell.

The Tetons and the Snake River

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