Jackson Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming represents the raw splendor of nature as well as American ingenuity; although it is a natural lake, it was enlarged by construction of the Jackson Lake Dam in 1911. Sawtoothed peaks of wood contrast the placid Jackson Lake and the gradual incline of the Grand Tetons, a scene that is both serene and majestic. Seemingly untouched by tourism, this photograph offers a unique glimpse of the rugged wilderness of the American West, sans camping grounds and scrap-hungry bears. Adams’ portrayal of the lake is arresting; with his use of found geometric angles and a variety of natural textures, he presents a completely unique take on Grand Teton National Park.
A tireless photographer, environmental activist, and writer, Ansel Adams captured the wild of America as no artist before or since. Considered one of the last defining figures of nineteenth-century American landscape imagery, Adams dedicated himself to both his art and his subjects. The sweeping landscapes established him as an expert in photography at the time, consulting for multiple camera manufacturers and developing the zone system, a technique enabling photographers to visualize an image and produce a matching photograph by controlling exposure and the developing process. His expertise was not just in his art, but also in his knowledge of the canyons, cliffs, forests, and plains that were his subjects. A vocal environmental and wilderness activist, Adams advocated for the conservation of state parks. His work is a continuing testament to his passion for the wilderness of America.
In 1941 the National Park Service commissioned Adams to create a photo mural for the Department of the Interior Building in Washington, DC. The theme was to be nature as exemplified and protected in the U.S. National Parks. The project was halted because of World War II and never resumed. Much of the project is now kept in the National Archives. This photograph is from the initial National Park Service project.
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