This Ansel Adams art stands apart: An unbe-leaf-able new edition


In Glacier National Park, Montana by Ansel Adams
8"x8" ($24) | 11"x11" ($60) |16"x16" ($240) | 20"x20" ($600) | 30"x30" ($1800)

Today is Ansel Adams’ birthday, so it should come as no surprise that we couldn’t resist the opportunity to commemorate his legendary talent with the release of a new edition. The Adams image our curatorial team landed on, however, is something altogether unexpected. In Glacier National Park, Montana may seem simple, but this monochrome image of maple leaves is so much more than meets the eye. It’s a closer look at the miracle of nature, a decisive expression of curiosity, and a glimpse into the mind of the master photographer behind the lens.

Most of us think of Ansel Adams as the iconic American landscape photographer. With In Glacier National Park, Montana, we get to see another side of his work: the intimate side. Though he’s best known for his sweeping, grand vistas, Adams also created a complementary body of work capturing nature’s details, showing a lot of visual experimentation with texture, contrast, and hue. What a photographer actively chooses to capture says a lot about who they are. Adams’ passion for the grand miracle of nature is clear in all of his chosen subjects, whether he’s marveling at a mighty river or closely observing the wonder of maple leaves. His artistic eye and technical prowess combine to create a powerful photographic force: when Adams wants us to look at something, we do.

In In Glacier National Park, Montana, we find ourselves mesmerized by mere maple leaves and evergreen branches. There are no impressive canyons or majestic mountaintops visible in this edition. And yet... because of Adams’ precise photographic control these seemingly ordinary natural minutiae are elevated to the extraordinary. Every vein on each leaf pulses with life, every subtle shift in texture is transmitted, every moment of moisture glistens with imperative. The needles on the evergreen branches (cedar, we surmise), the sharp edges of the maple leaf’s circumference, and even the hint of a fern blade—each detail stands out as its own gorgeous entity, masterpieces of natural creation popping against a deep black background. Adams meant for us to study the subjects in this composition, to contemplate them as their own works of art. Nature is miraculous, he seems to say, and even when you think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t. Look. Really look.

What is it about images of nature that draw us in? Studies have shown that simply being in nature can slow down one’s heartbeat and quiet a busy mind. The practice known as “forest bathing” may lower blood pressure. But nature is not always within reach. An image can serve as a reminder of that time spent in a more meditative state. Or perhaps a photograph brings back some sense of wonder at the profound beauty found in scales large and small. Far be it from us to pinpoint the mysterious mechanisms by which a print like this soothes the soul—we just know you’ll want it on your walls.

P.S. You’ve got until midnight tonight to add a custom frame to your maple leaf for 25% off—the perfect way to ensure this print is ready, hanging, and working its calming wizardry pronto. Just enter code YOTD at checkout.

With art for everyone,
Team 20x200

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