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How Ansel Adams Changed Photography

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Though Ansel Adams may have died in 1984, his work and his impact on photography reverberates through the craft to this day. This video essay will explain how and why, in under ten minutes.

These days, it feels as if there are few photographers that non-photographers know of. Even 15-20 years ago, I can still hear by Grandma saying “oh, check out David Bailey over here” when she first saw me with a camera. Perhaps it’s because photographers were less common and the craft was harder to get into, with photographers being far rarer than today. Whatever the case, there were a handful of photographers that for all intents and purposes, everybody knew. Ansel Adams was one of them.

Anyone who has had any sort of interest in photography, particularly in more recent years, will likely know that Adams was brilliant, but not necessarily why. You might see his black and white landscapes and think they’re certainly nice, but not quite grasp why they’re as revered as they are. The truth it, he pioneered a great deal of what is now a staple of the craft, particularly in areas such as composition. While he may not have invented compositional elements like leading lines or foreground interest, he certainly popularized them.

So, take ten minutes to enjoy a well organized video essay on one of photography’s greatest.


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