In 1941 Ansel Adams was hired by the United States Department of the Interior to photograph Americas national parks for a series of murals that would celebrate the countrys natural heritage. Because of the escalation of World War II, the project was suspended after less than a year, but not before Adams had produced this group of breathtaking images, which illustrate both his early innovations and the shape of his later, legendary career as Americas foremost landscape photographer.
The invitation to photograph the nations parklands was the perfect assignment for Adams, as it allowed him to express his deepest convictions as artist, conservationist, and citizen. These stunning photographs of the natural geysers and terraces in Yellowstone, the rocks and ravines in the Grand Canyon, the winding rivers and majestic mountains in Glacier and Grand Teton national parks, the mysterious Carlsbad Caverns, the architecture of ancient Indian villages, and many other evocative views of the American West demonstrate the genius of Adams technical and aesthetic inventiveness.
In these glorious, seminal images we see the inspired reverence for the wilderness that has made Ansel Adams work an enduring influence on the intertwining spirits of art and environmentalism, both so necessary for the preservation of our natural world.
One of the most prolific and highly acclaimed photographers of the twentieth century, Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is the author of more than a dozen books. He helped establish the department of photography at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art and founded The Friends of Photography in Carmel, California, and the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson. A member of the board of directors of the Sierra Club for thirty-seven years, Adams was instrumental in the growth of the American conservationist movement.
Alice Gray is a writer and editor based in Louisville, Kentucky. Her work has appeared in such publications as Art & Auction and ARTnews.