Ansel Adams

Cascades, 1956, Polaroid Polapan 4×5 film Type 53
USA, 1976, Polaroid Polapan Type 52
Test Photographs of Yosemite National Park using SX-70 Film, May 1973

Ansel Adams (born 20 February 1902 in San Francisco, US − died 22 April 1984 in Carmel-by-the-Sea, US) is one of the most important American photographers, best known for his landscape and nature photography. He became famous as a photographer of the American West and for his black-and-white photos of landscapes, especially Yosemite National Park. He was co-founder of the f/64 group and is considered one of the pioneers of straight photography, a pure form of photography that attempts to depict reality in all its objectivity. He published numerous textbooks on the theory and practice of photographic technique.
Ansel Adams was an only child, born into a wealthy upper-class family. Due to a hyperactive tendency, a short attention span and generally unruly behavior, he was home-schooled from grade 8. At the age of 12, he taught himself to play the piano. He continued to study piano for many years, and for a long time intended to pursue a career as a pianist. Until 1930, he earned his living by teaching piano.
Adams began taking photographs at a young age, in 1916, on his first visit to Yosemite National Park, and he soon became interested in the photographic process. He discovered his love of nature early on, and between 1920 to 1927 worked as a guard in Yosemite National Park. During regular hiking tours at this time, he took impressive landscape and nature photos for which he became widely known. His creative energy and skills as a photographer really flourished from 1927 onwards when he met insurance broker and patron of the arts Albert M. Bender. They became friends and Bender encouraged and financially supported him from then on. In 1930, Adams published his first book, Taos Pueblo, and in 1936 the gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz exhibited Ansel Adams’ photographs in New York to great acclaim.
Adams’ relationship with Polaroid began in 1948 when he met the company’s founder, Edwin Land. At Adams’ suggestion, he was hired as a consultant by Polaroid in 1949, a collaboration that lasted until Adams’ death in 1984. Adams took test photos and documented everything in order to improve the latest Polaroid products. In the course of his consultancy work, he tested all major Polaroid cameras and films, from the early Model 95 to the color SX-70 camera. The first Polaroid films produced only sepia prints, followed by black and white in 1950 and color in 1963. A book of photographs by Ansel Adams entitled Polaroid Land Photography was published in 1963.
In his later years, Adams devoted himself to teaching and publishing his books. The Zone System he formulated with Fred Archer in the 1940s for determining the correct exposure and development of negatives and prints became groundbreaking for artistic black-and-white photography.

Polaroid book

Ansel Adams. Polaroid Land photography
New York Graphic Society 1978
ISBN 10: 0821207296
ISBN 13: 9780821207291