Today we explore the unique allure of Ansel Adams' art by looking at his classic Colorado image, Long's Peak from Road, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Long's Peak from Road, Rocky Mountain National Park by Ansel Adams
8"x10" ($24) | 11"x14" ($60) | 16"x20" ($240) | 20"x24" ($600)
What makes a landscape photograph beautiful? What makes Ansel Adams’ images so magnetic? Part of the appeal of a landscape image is the subject itself: here, Long's Peak from Road, Rocky Mountain National Park. Long’s Peak is the tallest mountain in the park, easily visible from miles away. It spends most of the year covered in snow, a stark contrast to the pine forest surrounding it. There’s no denying that this majestic mountain is a striking sight. But it’s not just the mountain that has us hooked on Adams’ photograph.
So why are we drawn to his images in particular? Adams was passionate about his craft, becoming a technical master and founding a new aesthetic in photography. Within that craft existed a process Adams called “visualization”: mentally picturing his ideal image, then setting out to make that image with his technical know-how. When he imagined these images, however, he was not recording the subject in front of him, but rather the emotions the scene evoked: “I want a picture to reflect not only the forms but what I had seen and felt at the moment of exposure.” It is Ansel Adams’ ability to capture contrast, both visual and emotional—serenity and drama, darkness and light—that attracts us to his work.
With that ability in mind, we find ourselves looking at Long's Peak from Road, Rocky Mountain National Park. In this scene we see two totally different environments: one densely forested, the other barren and snowy; one seemingly in the shifting gradient of fall, the other fixed in winter. Yet amid these contrasts, Adams creates a calming scene. The snow-covered range seems more dignified than dangerous, surrounded by gentle puffs of clouds. Even as the terrain changes drastically, the scene appears whole, complete.
As America’s “photographer laureate” and one of its most active artist environmentalists, Ansel Adams brought a new layer of beauty to the American wilderness. His expression of emotion via his technical mastery of photography is what makes him a legend, and what makes Long's Peak from Road, Rocky Mountain National Park a legendary edition for your wall.
With art for everyone,
P.S. Keep your eyes peeled this coming Thursday and Monday for work from brand-new-to-20x200 artist Molly Crabapple! Tell your friends about it—or better yet, tell them to sign up for our newsletter so they can see and shop her editions first.