Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco, California and his very early interests were more in music and other things than in photography. He hoped to one day become a professional of some sort in this venue. Adams, known for his great pictures of the western side of the United States, first took pictures in Yosemite National Park in 1916. This experience was so touching to Adams, he took it as a life long view of inspiration. Every summer he returned to Yosemite National Park to take more pictures. He also developed an interest in the conservative movement going on in the United States at the time. By 1920, he had become part of the Sierra Club, a group that wanted to preserve the western beauties. In 1927, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras was published. This was Adams’ first portfolio.
After marrying Virginia Best in 1928, Adams became a professional photographer for the Sierra Club. In 1930, after meeting Paul Strand, another photographer, Adams devoted his life to photography. 1931 was they year that his work was first put into the Smithsonian Institution. Adams and some other Western United States photographers all came together in 1932 to form a group called f/64. They were devoted to making technically flawless prints of nature and the wilderness.
Adams opened a gallery of his work in 1933 in San Francisco, The Ansel Adams Gallery. He published many prints including his first, Making A Photograph.
In the following years, Adams moved to the Yosemite Valley and explored the Southwest with fellow photographers, Edward Weston, Georgia O’Keeffe, and David McAlpin. Around the time of World War II, Adams got a job as a photomuralist in Washington DC for the Department of the Interior. During 1944 and 1945, Adams lectured and taught courses on photography at museums. This teaching was followed by the establishment of one of the first departments of photography at the California School of Fine Arts in 1946. Throughout 1950 he made trips to Hawaii, Alaska, and Maine, and in that year he published Portfolio 2: The National Parks and Monuments. Dorothea Lange collaborated with Adams on his next project on the Mormons in Utah. By 1955, he had created a workshop in Yosemite and published Portfolio 3: Yosemite Valley under the Sierra Club.
Adams pictures always were aimed at getting pure darks and lights to get a range of tones for perfect clarity. By 1967, Adams moved to Carmel, California and in 1967, he was a major cause in the founding of the Friends of Photography, he also became president of this organization. At the Young Museum, a retrospective of his work from 1923 to 1963 was exhibited. In the late 1970s, his pictures sold for prices that were never before imaginable by a living American photographer. By this time, Adams had stopped making photographs; instead he was devoted to revising books on his life’s works and preparing his prints for exhibitions.