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Black and White Nature Photography

Dan Eitreim

July 4, 2015

Even after color photography became popular, many artists even up to the current day prefer shooting black and white photography. Partially, this used to be an issue of cost, since black and white film was less expensive than the newer technology of color film. More importantly, though, people believed that black and white photography was the traditional way to shoot good photographs. Today, the history is so rich and detailed that monochrome photography still seems “classic” to us.

The most famous photographs by far in black and white – in fact, the most famous photographs of all time – were taken by one man, Ansel Adams. In the 1930s, he became known as a photographer in the “f/64” group. These artists believed in visual clarity and fine detail; their shots were carefully focused to be as sharp as possible and framed with precision.

Adams grew up in California, and loved the magnificence of the landscapes in the American West. The Great Depression was still affecting the entire country, but for many the untouched natural splendor of the West Coast symbolized a sense of hope for the country. The highly skilled photographs of mountains and deserts which Adams took were a welcome escape from the harsh images of life in the 1930s that many artists felt obligated to focus on.

Adams loved national parks, especially Yosemite, and the U.S. government hired him in the early 1940s to take photographs of the National Park System and other important locations, leading to such famous photographs as “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” and perhaps his greatest work, “The Tetons and the Snake River”. These photographs are examples of the unmatched eye Adams had for the light and forms found in nature, as well as his skill in the darkroom. “Moonrise”, particularly, can often be seen in dozens of slightly different versions, since he spent over 30 years experimenting with new ways to develop the negatives. The focus he spent on this specific photograph is due partially to his appreciation of the particular photo and partially to a simple coincidence of history. Unlike the large majority of the famous photograph he shot on this trip, which became property of the government in exchange for a daily payment, this was taken on a day he did not receive payment. The copyright therefore remained with Adams, allowing him to finally become financially self-sufficient and concentrate on his art with the sale of many series of prints from Moonrise.

There are also many other pictures that are appreciated such as Oak Tree, Sunset City, California, that represents the magnificence of this strength and courage symbol, as well of the Half Dome, Merced River, Winter that shows the beauty of the winter scenery and Mt. McKinley Range, Clouds, Denali National Park, Alaska, just to name a few of his masterpieces.

These scenes from nature are important for more than just their beauty, though. More than just giving us a vivid, lifelike history of the American landscape, in many cases the images have been responsible for the survival of the places they picture. Adams was an environmentalist for his entire life, and used many of his photographs to advocate for the creation of protected areas of land like the famous Sequoias National Park. In addition, his contributions to the field of photography were educational as well as artistic; he taught many students, wrote several important books, and even helped develop a systematic guide to exposing and developing film photography. Though photography was quickly developing as an art form even before Ansel Adams, his art was and continues to be some of the most popular in American history, eliciting an unmatched emotional response among millions.

You can find more about modern arts photographers at The Modern Art PrintsLouise Maccabee used to work as a teacher in Canada and China. She is semi-retired. Her goal of building websites is to provide her guests with a place where they could find quality information, ideas, tips and articles related to the theme of the website, in one convenient location. You can find more about modern arts photographers at The Modern Art Prints.This article is free for republishing by visitors provided the resource link is retained.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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