Youth Advisors’ Visit to Ansel Adams Exhibition

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Youth Advisors’ Visit to Ansel Adams Exhibition

For their Silver Arts Award, the Youth Advisors visited the National Maritime Museum’s Ansel Adams exhibition: Photography From the Mountains to the Sea. They wrote reviews of the exhibition and photographs they saw, which are shared below…

Youth Advisors at Ansel Adams: Photography From the Mountains to the Sea
Henry Bartlett
The Ansel Adams exhibition was a pleasant display of Ansel’s best work, featuring his most mass scaled work of nature and water and landscapes.
Adam’s B/W photography captures extraordinary details using water to make a brilliant effect as can be seen in the visually impressive ‘mirror lake’ which can really show the magnitude of nature and in turn the world.
The amount of breath taking work placed in one area really makes the exhibition a must see. However, I felt that some of his work was a little obscure sometimes.
Bethanie Tokenge
My favourite artwork in the exhibition is the Sundown in the Pacific, Carmel Highlands, 1946. One fact about this artwork is it is the Center Photography, University of Arizona. What I liked about it most was its simplicity. It showcased a peaceful happiness and silent environment. I would like to find out why this picture was taken and what was the photographer thinking at the time. There’s nothing I don’t like about this artwork. I would definitely recommend visiting this exhibition because the images portray a view most people wouldn’t see/experience everyday. The images are unique and beautiful. The simplicity of the artwork I like, indicates something beautiful, doesn’t need to be shocking. Its simplicity also reflects the mood you have in the exhibition – calm and relaxed.
Fatim Conteh
My favourite collection of artwork in the exhibition was the American Trust Murals. They are massive prints of his photos.
At the time, paper that size was not commercially available so to get around this, Adams printed the photos in sections and carefully joined them together on a backing board.
I like these pictures for their size because I can stand in front of them and picture myself in the scenery. However, I would prefer these pictures in colour and perhaps technology could do colour versions for the gallery to perhaps sell in a book or something. The landscapes also remind me of video games or fantasy book scenes. These really spark my imagination. Hard to believe these are real places.
I would highly recommend visiting this exhibition, I feel privileged to be able to have viewed such beautiful photography.
I’m impressed at Ansel Adams and hopefully his pictures would help me with writing scenery for stories in the future.
Nicole Thornton
The exhibition was really intriguing! I really enjoyed observing the various photography which captured various landscapes including movement and stillness. There were many of them which really stood out to me, for instance, Waterfall Northern Cascades, Washington 1960 and Surf Sequence 1, 2, 4, 5 County Court 1940 which were really interesting  to look at. The main one that I really loved was the Detail of Cascade Bridge Creak 1960 and the reasons behind his photograph being one of my favourites is due to the way the photograph successfully captured waves crashing against the rocks and the fact that you could actually see in the transition of being still and moving. As the photos weren’t in colour, it actually enhanced the impact the photographers had on observers including myself. The photos created a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere despite the moment being captured in the pictures. The images allow you to reflect upon previous situations in your lives when you wanted to pause yet not having the capacity to do so in reality.
It almost creates a different world of pureness and nature becomes the focus of our lives. This establishes the lack of appreciation we have for nature. I would highly recommend this exhibition to others
Callum Dee
Evolution Creek was my favourite artwork. It was taken partway up the trial to Evolution Basin in California. I would like to know what month this was taken, other than this I like everything. I would strongly recommend this to anyone interested in nature. My imagination was sparked by the natural beauty. This exhibition made me feel excited and interested in art.

Bryn Brunnstrom
When one first begins to explore the work of American photographer, Ansel Adams, it may appear that he is just another nature photographer. However, with further analysis, it becomes clear that Adams was a pioneer in the field of photography, exploring what the medium was truly capable of. For example, take Adams’ numerous works featuring crashing waves and seascapes, often captured in tremendous detail. Given the fluid and mercurial nature of water, these images can only be accurately created through a camera, showing how Adams took advantage of the instantaneous image capture that photography offers.
Isobel Hobby Norris
Within the exhibition my focus was drawn to one of the three biggest photographs in the exhibition. The photo taken in Point Lobos (c. 1950), the use of light and dark due to the increased contrast. It is because of the strong contrast that the amount of detail that the viewer can see id heightened. The size of the photo is quite astonishing and I was not surprises to find that the photos were made up of smaller pieces of photographic paper.
The whole exhibition made my want to travel more intense, especially travel to Canada. I would recommend the exhibition to friends and family who are interested in photography
Amy Browne
As I started to explore the exhibition I came across my photographs that drew in my attention. There was one specific piece that struck me and that was the photograph named Gravel Bars, American River in 1950. When the picture was first printed there was no record of where it was hung.
What drew my attention to the photo was that it kind of reminded me of an old fashioned Western movie and I liked the feel of that. One thing I wanted to know was what has changed from then (how the place looks) for example if it looks the same. I would definitely recommend it because I felt it left you with a few questions. The exhibition made me feel excited for the future (wanting to travel)
Frances Woodall
The Ansel Adams exhibition displayed a range of photos under different headings. The size, venue and effects of the pictures interested me. The exhibition intrigued and impressed me, it was clear Ansel Adams was talented.
My favourite photo was called ‘Sundown’ from the Pacific, Carmel. It was done in 1946. It caught my eye, a small, simple yet stunning photo. There were interesting effects on the photo and it was done from an intriguing perspective. The photo spoke for itself, although I would have liked some more information. It sparked my imagination, for it wasn’t a major photo but it communicated his feelings and just looking at it seemed to transport me to this wonderful scene he had captured.
I would definitely recommend the exhibition and think Ansel Adams has captured some amazing scenes which have greatly inspired me.

Adrian Richards
I really enjoyed the exhibition because there was a wide range of Ansel Adams work. My favourite artwork was Winter Sunrise which was shown on the film of his art carer life. I was fascinated by the fact he modifies his photographs to excess mood.
The exhibition inspired me to develop my interest in photography and to reflect mood in my work. Overall, I loved the Ansel Adams exhibition and would recommend to all who enjoy learning about photography.
Rachel Davies
As he is one of my favourite photographers, I was vaguely biased in that I was expecting to love the exhibition. However, it was one of his lesser known works that caught my eye; he is regarded a real photographic innovator, especially in the art world. I particularly admire him because he has so cleverly manipulated his art using film photography, which is limited by the number of films available – the amount of exposures can provide a problem, although obviously not for Adams. The piece that captured my imagination was ‘Wave and Log – Dry Lagoon’, taken in North Carolina, however the date is approximate, suggesting that it was an unplanned piece. What captured me was the tonal range, even in monochrome, each crevice was fully defined, and the small scale worked well, as it then felt more intimate as a viewer as some of the photographs in the exhibition were so large they were somewhat unintentionally overwhelming. I overheard someone say ‘I thought all of his work was about Yosemite National Park’ – which was interesting as that is his most famous work and his work has a more collective range than that, but it was good to hear another opinion.
Mercedes Thompson
I really enjoyed the Ansel Adams exhibition because there was a great variety of photos. I liked that there were different sizes of photos, which emphasised the depth of the photos. Also, I found the film about ‘Winter Sunrise’ incredibly interesting as it showed me how much time Adams had spent perfecting the image. It also encouraged me to be more creative in my Art GCSE.
Shezara Maria Francis
I like the exhibition. I’ve never been to an exhibition made solely of the work of one artist before. It was packed, so obviously other people agreed that it was a great display of the famous Ansel Adams’ artwork.
One of my favourites is Cascade (1968) which was borrowed from the University of Arizona. The perspective of the rapids is amazing because even though it is in black and white it creates tones that can be imagined in any colour – it’s so cool!
I also really liked Lake Washington which was taken in 1918, because it arranges so many different elements in the picture of these layers. Mountains, forest, lake – peaceful yet rugged.
Both of these are from Yosemite, which is entirely coincidental as what amazes me is the variety of the landscape that Adams explored in his time. I would like to know more about how he lived, especially as a traveller.
Some of Adams’ Work shown in the exhibition

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