Friday, March 28, 2014

My Interview With The Legendary Photographer Ansel Adams

I did not interview Ansel Adams. I was not even five years old when the legendary photographer passed away. Instead, I've put together many often quoted words of wisdom from Ansel Adams in a faux interview format. Hopefully you'll see these popular quotes in a new light and find insight in the words.

Mr. Adams, may I call you Ansel? Great. Ansel, much of your photography is of Yosemite National Park. What is it about this place that attracts you over maybe some other grand locations?
Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.
You were a musician as a child. You are also a talented writer. You could have expressed the greatness of Yosemite through song or poetry. What makes photography a better medium to express your feelings of this place?
Both the grand and the intimate aspects of nature can be revealed in the expressive photograph. Both can stir enduring affirmations and discoveries, and can surely help the spectator in his search for identification with the vast world of natural beauty and wonder surrounding him.
What do you find is most critical to creating a great photograph--the camera, lens or film?
The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it. There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.
So it is the photographer himself or herself that is most important to the outcome of an image, is that right?
A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is thereby a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.
Your photographs, then, are an expression of your feelings, and not just an exposure of what's in front of you. Can you expound on that?
There are no forms in nature. Nature is a vast, chaotic collection of shapes. You as an artist create configurations out of chaos. You make a formal statement where there was none to begin with. All art is a combination of an external event and an internal event. I make a photograph to give you the equivalent of what I felt. Equivalent is still the best word.
Is it essential to the outcome of a photograph to have the right camera? 
You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.
Are there any photography rules that you use to ensure good results?
There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.
Last question, Ansel. It seems as if everything has pretty much been photographed, and in every way imaginable. Do you think photography has pretty much been fully explored?
We must remember that a photograph can hold just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium. Photography, as a powerful medium, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.

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