Saturday, July 28, 2012

Amanda S. #3: Adams & Tal

Black and White or Color... that is the question of the day. 

Ansel Adams has always been my "hero" and I've always felt he was a kindred spirit it the way we see the world. Obviously I am still learning how to represent what I see in a similar fashion, but it's a very tall order to achieve that goal. It was only recently I realized our personal connection. Not only do I wholeheartedly admire his photography, but he was an acquaintance of my parents through the Sierra Club in New York City in the late 1960's. When I was a child, they shared stories of their interactions with him on a human, more personal level than you usually hear. My favorite story is when Ansel Adams borrowed my mom's tiny Scottie puppy for an entire day of Sierra Club meetings, "hiding" her under his coat. He begrudgingly handed her back to Mom at the end of the day, sad to see her go. Now, how many kids out there hear stories like that?
I feel it's important to preserve the world's natural spaces for future generations. Humans have made such negative impacts on the environment, it's time to slow it down the destruction and find a way to live in balance with nature, instead of destroying it. Ansel Adams played a huge part in capturing images of our country's abundance of beauty, especially in the west. I've always admired his ability to compose the image in his mind and capture it so accurately with the extremely basic cameras of his time. As I've learned to use medium-format cameras this past spring, I appreciate the lengths he went to in order to capture on film what was in his mind. Plus, working in the darkroom to print an image just the way you want it has been a lot of fun, too. Knowing he manipulated the images as he printed them helps keep it real, as the images were not taken exactly as they are presented to the world.

This brings me to a more modern photographer, Guy Tal of Torrey, Utah. Guy Tal captures very impressive representations of nature with a mind's eye similar to my own. The first time I saw his photos I yelled, "That's it! I've finally found another photographer to pay close attention to!"  It would be an incredible honor to apprentice under this talented photographer. I appreciate that he works with both black & white and color images.  It's amazing how one can present the same subject, here it's sandstone, and create two very different but equally stunning images.

So, the question at hand is, "Should I shoot in black & white or color?"  I think the answer is: both. From the traditions and pure beauty of black & white to the incredible richness of color, I need to do both to keep  my creative juices flowing.

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