Ansel Adams- Organic
Dorothea Lange- Unpretentious
Henri Cartier-Bresson- Candid
February 20, 1902 - April 22, 1984
Ansel Adams' style of photography is scenic, landscape photography. He is known for nature and wilderness photography in black and white. Adams set the standard on the dramatic use of black and white in capturing nature as it is. He developed a system called "Zone System" that combines exposure and contrast in photography, giving the final product an unforgettable quality. Ansel Adams was one of the most distinguished photographers ever. He received several awards both during his lifetime and after he passed away. Adams is one of my favorite Photographers because we have quite a bit in common we are both only children, at a very young age became interested in the outdoors, taking long walks and exploring. I grew up traveling to Yosemite National Park every other summer with my parents so the majority of his photos speak to me and make me reminisce on childhood.
Yosemite Falls and Meadow, Yosemite National park, CA 1953
I chose this photograph because of my own personal obsession for photographing waterfalls. I absolutely love the calming simplicity but complexity and ever-changing beauty of a waterfall. When I think of Ansel Adams this photo always comes to mind. I just associate Adams with Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Falls, as I'm sure many other people do.
Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park, WY 1948
A photograph of ancient power instantly recognisable the world over this stunning black and white still captures Old Faithful Geyser in all its glory. No two times it erupts will it look the same. Adams captured a moment that cannot be replicated. When I look at this photograph I see the geyser in an interpretation of how one second something is here and the next it is gone.
Rose and Driftwood, San Francisco, CA 1932
What makes this photograph of a simple rose special in addition to its beauty is, the story behind it. This is a close-up "macro" photograph taken at the point in Adams life when he was making the final choice of a career in photography rather than in music. Ansel did not go out trying to photograph a rose or driftwood. His mom handed him a rose and being a photographer he felt obligated to take a photo of it. The photograph was taken by the natural light coming from a north-facing window and for a lack of suitable background he ended up with a piece of wave-worn ply driftwood.
May 26, 1895 - October 11, 1965
Dorothea Lange was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work. In the late 1920s, she was dissatisfied with her studio work and started to experiment with plant and landscape photography. She found it unsatisfactory as well. Dorothea then turned to the effects of the economy decline after the crash of the stock market in 1929 and shifted her camera lens from her studio and took to the streets. From 1935 to 1939, Dorothea’s work at the FSA brought the struggles of the forgotten and poor to light. Her photos humanized the outcome of the Great Depression. Her work also influenced the growth of documentary photography. Dorothea was given a Guggenheim Fellowship award in 1941. The reason I chose Lange as one of my icons of photography is because of how much her work impacted how people saw the families effected by the depression. She photographed bodies more clearly with clothes on them than most photographers do when the subject is nude.
Lange tightly framed the children and the mother, whose eyes, worn from worry and resignation, instructed them to look past the camera. She took six photos with her 4x5 Graflex camera, later writing, “I knew I had recorded the essence of my assignment.” Afterward Lange informed the authorities of the plight of those at the encampment, and they sent 20,000 pounds of food. Migrant Mother has become the most iconic picture of the Depression. Through an intimate portrait of the toll being exacted across the land, Lange gave a face to a suffering nation. I chose this photo because of its iconic nature and how it can still depict how some families feel today.
Lighthearted Kids in Merrill FSA Camp, OR, 1939
While many of Dorothea Lange's Depression photos reveal the hardships and strain of life at that time, this view demonstrates that kids can still smile in the worst of times. The FSA did need some happy shots – the clothes of these children are testament enough to the financial state of their families. I chose this photograph to show a lighter side to the depression.
This photograph is of Dorothea's granddaughter Dyanna Taylor. Dyanna is a five-time Emmy award winning Cinematographer and Director of Photography. She even made a film about her grandmother titled, Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning. Her film gives the viewer both an understanding and felt sense of the woman whose influential 20th century work revealed America to America. This photo just really captivated me, the lighting that was used and the shadows the tall grass cast on her perfect face, and the wonder in her eyes make me want to know what she is wondering about.
Aug 22, 1908 - Aug 3, 2004
Henri Cartier-Bresson believed “To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life.” He was among the first to use 35mm film, and he usually shot in black and white. was a French humanist photographer considered a master of candid photography. He pioneered the genre of street photography, and conceived of photography as capturing a decisive moment. Cartier-Bresson's received his first camera from an American expatriate while he was on house arrest for hunting without a license.
Hamburg, Germany: 1952-1953
This was one of many scenes Cartier-Bresson captured in December 1952 and January 1953 at or near the main harbor of Hamburg. This photo is very thought provoking because the subject is wearing a sign around his neck that says “Looking For Any Kind Of Work”. Which would seem to mean he is homeless and in need of a job, but on the other hand he is dressed in fairly nice clothes which tells a totally different story. The main reason that I picked this picture is because it makes me want to know more, which I think is an important quality in a photograph.
Henri photographed many sleeping subjects. He said they are good subject because they hardly move, never complain, and their subtle twitches reveal an energy floating just below the surface of their still bodies, which I totally agree with. I also love how he balanced out the picture with the three sleeping children in the foreground and the two that are fighting sleeping in the background. It is also thought provoking because I personally am curious as to what they are dreaming about in their slumber.
He used slight of hand, or in his case slight of head, to undermine the laws of gravity. Most of the time, we are trying to take three dimensional photographs. In this photo he uses its two dimensional perspective to flatten the field and create interest. From the angle at which Henri took the picture, the sculpture and the woman appear to be the same size. Also how he uses the lines of the road she is walking on versus the handrail in the foreground, it makes you double take at if she is walking flat or down a hill. The magician in him makes a good photograph. He looks for scenes which defy any common assumption which is one reason I am so drawn to this photo.