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Ansel Adams Biography: timeline of key events


Ansel Adams Biography: Baseball game at Manzanar War Reolocation Center, Owens Valley, California

Baseball game at Manzanar War Reolocation Center, Owens Valley, California / US Library of Congress

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.

PAGE 1: Ansel Adams’ influence
PAGE 2: Why Ansel Adams’ photography remains popular
PAGE 3: Timeline of Ansel Adams’ life


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