Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It's Not Just Black and White

Monument Valley - Dougan Gary

Not too many people know that photographer Ansel Adam’s first career choice was music. At age 12 he taught himself how to read music and play the piano and went on to study music extensively. This discipline as a musician undoubtedly influenced his abilities as a visual artist.

His passion for photography began with the Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie camera his parents gave him, and his first visit to Yosemite, his favorite subject, came in 1916. He was an early member of the Sierra Club, and worked tirelessly as an advocate for preserving the wilderness, which stems from his earliest childhood days when, as a youth growing up in San Francisco near Golden Gate, he would roam for hours through the roughest territory.

Adam’s powerful black and white images, which he achieved through his gift as an artist and by a highly developed and structured technical restraint, were not just realistic documentations of nature, but an intensely developed vision of natural beauty that was often more emotional than the actual landscapes he photographed.

Many photographers have emulated Adam’s presentation through the years, but one photographer in particular is able to bring that emotional presentation of nature to his images, and that’s Arizona photographer Dougan Gary. Check out his work and see what I’m talking about. --Ruth Mitchell

(c) 2006 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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