Ansel Easton Adams, the only child of Charles Hitchcock and Olive Bray Adams, was born on February 20, 1902, in San Francisco, California, near the Golden Gate Bridge. In 1906 an aftershock from the famous earthquake of that year threw him to the floor and gave him a badly broken nose. His father, a successful businessman who owned an insurance agency and a chemical factory, sent him to private, as well as public, schools. Adams was shy and self conscious about his nose and had problems in school. He received only an 8th grade education, preferring to learn mainly through following his own interests. From a young age he enjoyed the outdoors, taking many long walks and exploring.
Ansel was dismissed from several private schools for his restlessness and inattentiveness, his father decided to pull him out of schooling 1915, at the age of 12. Adams was then educated by private tutors, his Aunt Mary, and by his father. After a while, Adams resumed and then completed his formal education by attending the Mrs. Kate M. Wilkins Private School, until he graduated from eighth grade on June 8, 1917.
In 1940, Ansel put together A Pageant of Photography, the most important and largest photography show in the West to date, attended by millions of visitors. With his wife, Adams completed a children's book and the very successful Illustrated Guide to Yosemite Valley during 1940 and 1941. He also taught photography by giving workshops in Detroit. Adams also began his first serious stint of teaching in 1941 at the Art Center School of Los Angeles, now known as Art Center College of Design, which included the training of military photographers.
In Adams's photographs the West is an abstract notion more appropriately understood in its transformation as photograph than in its actuality. Expression is more important than reality, idea more important than fact, the print more important than its subject. For it is only in the print that such...