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Images of trees in a forest covered with snow may be foreign to people who have never ventured out into the rural wilderness. However, Ansel Adam’s who was an early 1900’s photographer loved capturing outdoor images, as landscapes were his favorite. Trees and Snow was painting in 1933 at the beginning of Adam’s career. Capturing these scenic images became Ansel Adam’s life work, so that he could share the alluring out-doors with other people. The photograph Trees and Snow portrays a dense, snowy forest, demonstrates a stark clarity and depth, and portrays the never-ending beauty of the Yosemite Valley forest.
Taking a quick glance at the art piece, one first notices the dense, forest of trees that seems to go on for miles. Despite the large amount, the trees are quite bare, showing no leaves or flowers representing a time of year during the autumn or winter months. The trees extend up towards the sky, but do not have much girth so they are still young. The other half of the photograph’s title, ‘Snow’ is the other predominate feature. The abundance of pure white snow, freshly strewn throughout the tree branches gives the viewer an awe inspiring glance into the start of a new day in the western United States.
Taking a deeper look at the elements, you will notice the clarity and strong details of this photograph. “Adams began to pursue “straight photography,” in which the clarity of the lens was emphasized” (Turnage 2016). This use of detail creates a realistic image that makes you feel as though you are actually there. “Straight or “Pure” Photography is creating an image that objectively portrays the reality of the world; without manipulating the photograph after it has been produced” (Straight Photography 2017). Adam’s was best at creating photos that bridged the gap between people and nature. He rarely edited his photos so that they looked as natural as possible. Despite the lack of color, the bright hues of black and white mix together to form the bright greyish background. The early morning light is seeping through the forest creating, once again, a peaceful ambience that draws the viewer in, making them crave a journey to parts unknown.
Ansel Adams goal in life was to educate the general population about conservation. Through his photos, he created a vast following of people who had not only an interest of beautiful photos, but a passion for the great outdoors. Another notable photo by Ansel is Half Dome, Merced River, Winter (1938). This is also a black and white picture of the iconic Half Dome landmark that became so popular that people strive to hike up to its summit every day. Similarly to Trees and Snow, this photo shows the natural beauty of the Park and there is no need for editing or changes to be made to it. “For Adams, the environmental issues of particular importance were Yosemite National Park, the national park system, and above all, the preservation of wilderness” (Turnage 2016). Through the use of his camera as well as his quality communication skills, Adams testified before the United States Congress to plead the case for keeping the national parks protected from urbanization. Ansel and his photos showed the government and US citizens that there is no need to change this already perfect place.
Trees and Snow was one picture out of hundreds of renowned works of art that Adam’s produced. His lifelong work of taking photos of nature, mountains, rivers and valleys, along with his conservationism mindset, made Ansel Adams one of the greatest artists of all time. Because of Adams, American’s have a stronger belief in the value of this land and it will be preserved for future generations to come.
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