I MUST go see this exhibit in San Francisco.
August 3, 2001 3:02 PM   Subscribe

I MUST go see this exhibit in San Francisco. If I had to choose my favorite artistic medium, and the greatest practitioner of that medium, it would be the amazing black and white landscape photos by Ansel Adams.
posted by msacheson (11 comments total)
Quick: Name another photographer.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 3:50 PM on August 3, 2001

How about those funny funny goofy funny Mapplethorpe photos?

My personal fave, btw, is Jay Maisel.
posted by Tacodog at 4:11 PM on August 3, 2001

and there was that self-portrait with bullwhip... (shudder)
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 4:21 PM on August 3, 2001

Diane Arbus, Irving Penn, Annie Liebowitz, Helmut Newton, Yousuf Karsh.

Lest we forget: Cindy Sherman.

Refresh my memory, doughnuts: why am I doing this? :)
posted by galachef55 at 6:33 PM on August 3, 2001

the greatest practitioner of that medium

yeah hes right up there with anne geddes.

posted by c at 7:13 PM on August 3, 2001

Ansel Adams was actually a pretty mediocre photographer. He was incredible in the darkroom. Two very different things, both with their merits.

Grab a book on him, and look for examples of what his shots would have looked like without all of his "Zone" noodling.
posted by Su at 7:36 PM on August 3, 2001

Was he really a mediocre photographer, or are we just jaded by the fact that the approachable nature of his work has let the stigma of "poster art" taint his memory?
posted by machaus at 7:56 PM on August 3, 2001

He was an extremely scientific photographer. He had every photography variable scrawled down on tables and each shot was a carefully measured and planned technical feat.

His darkroom work, as said above, was exceptional.

I've been trying to reconcile Adams' "science" with the concept of art. Of course much art is based in science and much science is reflected in art. Blah. He did some cool shit.
posted by fooljay at 12:17 AM on August 4, 2001

No, really. In general, his prints, if exposed without a bunch of darkroom trickery, are not that great looking. He went through some major hoop-jumping to make them look the way they are in all those calendars.

This isn't a value judgement on the fact that he's popular. I'm not criticizing his skill at all, but pointing out that people might be attributing the wrong skill to him. The only way to really see this is to go get one of the books on the Zone method. Of course the calendars aren't going to show you the blah-looking images.

Ever seen Cindy Crawford without makeup? Same concept.
posted by Su at 12:19 AM on August 4, 2001

but the fact that he's popular makes him. art is about humanity, afterall, and if you can succeed in either quantity or quality or method or structure or whatever, and someone has seen and understood it, or even if the artist just ernestly felt that need to communicate, you would have touched humanity in some way.
posted by elle at 1:56 AM on August 4, 2001

Art is also about a point in time. Look at last weekend's snapshots. Then look at them in 100 years.

History has a way of elevating the mundane. In photography this is particularly acute.

Not to say that all art is about the mundane, nor that AA's images were such.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:35 AM on August 4, 2001

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