Ansel Adams Biography: timeline of key events
Key moments in Ansel Adams’ life
1902: Adams is born in San Francisco into a wealthy family; his father is a successful businessman.
1906: An aftershock of the San Francisco earthquake throws him against a wall, breaking his nose. It remains lopsided all his life.
1914: After a troubled period at school (he was hyperactive and possibly dyslexic), Adams is educated at home. He teaches himself to play the piano and aims for a career as a concert pianist, which he later abandons for photography.
1916: First visit to Yosemite National Park, which leaves a strong impression on him.
1919: Joins the Sierra Club, an early environmental organization dedicated to the conservation of the natural world. His first published photographs appear in the organisation’s Bulletin three years later.
1927: Adams makes the first of his most famous photographs, Monolith, the Face of Half Dome in Yosemite. He produces his first portfolio of work to general acclaim.
1932: Adams and other like-minded photographers including Edward Weston form Group f/64.
1941: Adams and Fred Archer formulate the Zone System, a technique for precisely controlling exposure. That same year, Adams makes one of his most iconic images: Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.
1948: Adams publishes Camera and Lens: The Creative Approach, one of many influential technical books. It is followed later that year with The Negative and in 1950 with The Print.
1974: Major retrospective of his work is held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
1980: Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter.
1984: Adams dies on April 22, of heart failure, aged 82.