AS I WRITE THIS, the photography world is celebrating the 116th birthday of Ansel Adams, a passionate environmentalist and one of the most iconic image-makers of our time. To mark the occasion, our Web Editor Ron Leach wrote a brief look back at this photo master’s career on Shutterbug.com (see it here: http://bit.ly/2onaux9), and it was easily one of the most popular stories of the month for us.
What really struck me about the story was the reaction to it on social media. We received dozens of comments on our Facebook page (facebook.com/shutterbug), with readers noting what a major influence Adams has been on their lives. One commenter simply posted an image of a gray, wide-brimmed hat that resembled the classic
Stetson Adams used to wear. Nicely done.
But his sartorial choices aside, it was Adams’s vision as a photographer that’s had the most impact on the world. Simply put, any landscape or nature photographer working today owes a debt to Ansel, even those who are deliberating fighting against his influence. He’s certainly cast a long shadow, one that stretches over this very issue, which has a theme of Travel & Landscape Photography.
On page 58, photographer Josh Miller obliquely addresses Adams’s influence in his story “Different Perspectives: Seven Tips on How to Make Unique Landscape Photos in Popular Locations.” In the piece, Miller visits some of Adams’s familiar stomping grounds, including Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks, and offers different ways to capture these well-photographed spots. His lead image of a dozen would-be Ansels trying to capture Yosemite’s Tunnel View is amusing and clever while still capturing the natural beauty of this timeless landscape.
Our cover photographer Michael Shainblum is another example of someone who has, no doubt, been influenced by Adams but has taken his work in a different direction. Along with shooting primarily in color, whereas Adams specialized in black and white, Shainblum’s landscapes and cityscapes are captured in a variety of stunning ways. “He shoots stills, time-lapse videos, and panoramas, day and night, often remaining in one area for hours at a time, in locations close to home and far away—shooting on land and from the air,” Shutterbug writer Jack Neubart notes in his profile on Shainblum.
And finally, there are the four travel and landscape photographers that Maria Piscopo interviews in her Business Trends column on page 50, who probably recognize that along with being a master photographer, Ansel Adams was also a smart businessman and a savvy marketer of his personal “brand.” (That trademark Stetson hat was more than just to keep the sun out of his face, it helped create that image of Ansel we see in our heads, along with his ubiquitous view cameras.)
All of which is to say, Happy Birthday, Ansel Adams! Your photographic “children” are doing well and taking imaging in places you probably never could have imagined.