Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Man

I just returned from my sixth visit to the Ansel Adams exhibit entitled “Discoveries” at the Phoenix Art Museum, featuring 140 gelatin silver prints from The Center for Creative Photography archives at the University of Arizona. It was just an incredible display of AA’s work. For a lover of black and white, it was just breathtaking. Here is one take-away I discovered. In virtually every image there, from 1918 to 1974, I saw the consistent power of the artist to make everything in the frame count. We have viewfinders and zoom lenses (which he lacked) and, of course, the tripod mounted camera so we can study the entire frame before shooting. We know this rule, but it bears repeating. After setup, check the corners to make sure everything there is making a positive contribution. Then make sure lines are drawing the eye from the edges of the frame to the focal point. I can’t recall one of Ansel’s images that didn’t do that.

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