Ansel Adams on photography

I love photography, it’s no secret. I am not particularly skilled in a technical sense but what I do have is a unique perception of things which is evident in my better shots. I also ‘think photographically,’ which is to say that the way I view the world usually is not mutually exclusive from the mode my mind must be in when I go out to shoot. That ‘mode,’ rather, is the way I always frame as well as perceive the world, and have, for as long as I can remember. While I would not say that I have rosy-colored glasses or am an eternal optimist I tend to see the bizarrely beautiful interplay of light in an otherwise depressing scene and of course take a shot of it. It’s how I see; it’s who I am.

Since that is not a skill I developed so much as something I have had as long as I can remember, I do tend to think of any photographic shots which are pleasing which I create as partly my willingness to take them and also something that points back to the imago dei which I am imprinted with.

I was reading a bit about Ansel Adams and was interested to see that he, too, thought God at least partly responsible for his own photography, for he said:

“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”

We have been wrestling with the question of the artisan vs. that of the craftsman this semester in my Theology of Culture class, and exploring different ways that artists have been viewed theologically as expressions (or not) of God, but it strikes me that photography is a bit different – it takes a bit of talent, yes, but most of all it takes willingness to see. I’m certain other photographers have written about the God-quotient of their work, and Mr. Adams has inspired me to seek out what it is that they have said.

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One thought on “Ansel Adams on photography

  1. yes yes yes!!!!! very well said.
    another point: you take the time to get the shot. that is something I haven’t trained myself to do.

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