Ever quotable, passionate and inspired, sometimes controversial. Ansel Adams voice is true and timeless. Read these Best Ansel Adams quotes about photography, nature, art, environment and politics.
NOTE: Some links on this page direct to books sold through Amazon.com. The Ansel Adams Gallery will receive a small commission from these sales. There will be no additional cost to you.
Ansel Adams, Photographing from on top of his Cadillac
The full use of photography, I believe, has to have some kind of project, whether it is a business one or a social one or just a personal series of photographs to express what you think — I mean, a reason for doing it. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 64
- Photography is a language. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 66
- The tendency towards automatism in the cameras [. . .] discourages creativity. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 82
- Control is the whole essence of art. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 82
- There is something entrancing about the whole photographic setup, the camera, the lenses, the equipment. [. . .] The precision and the quality is unbelievable.
Ansel Adams, Sermon on the Mount
- It is all intuitive. It has to come very quickly. That means you have to practice. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 13
- If you can’t get rid of it, use it. [. . .] Thousands of things are going on at one time, and you can’t be aware of all those things, and you can’t add conventions to it, because if you did that you’d ruin it. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 13
- Ten people can go to exactly the same scene and get ten totally different images, although they might have the camera in the same position. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 14
- You can’t wait until something happens and then take a picture of it. It’s happened so fast that you’ll be late. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 14
- My interest in cemetaries is not anything to do with death, or even the fact that the art is ‘art.’ It’s a kind of folk art, but it has a tremendous human significance. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 34
- At the very beginning you’re just taking images at the diary level, and I don’t think you think at all about it. You see something there and you want to make a picture of it. Now just the preservation of what you see is one thing, but the excitement of making a picture at the lowest level of technique is still an important factor. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 40
- I think sometimes with the negative you’re more conscious of the design and organization than you are with the print because you don’t have the subjects in positive form dominating you.Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 57
- I don’t think influences are always very obvious. I think that you never know what’s going to influence you. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 58
- The thing that bothers me more than anything else is weakness. [. . .] There is nothing worse than a clear, sharp image of a fuzzy concept. Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 58/59
- Painting is a synthetic medium [. . .] and photography is analytic. [With photography] you still have the optical image as the base. There is nothing you can do about that.
- On the environment “Either we go to hell or we have a revolution” Playboy May 1983
- “You don’t improve nature. You reveal your impression of nature or natures impact on you.”
- The whole world is, to me, very much “alive” -all the little growing things, even the rocks. I can’t look at a swell bit of grass and earth, for instance, without feeling the essential life-the things going on-within them. The same goes for a mountain, or a bit of the ocean, or a magnificent piece of old wood. Ansel Adams, Letters page 129
- The clear realities of Nature seen with the inner eye of the spirit reveal the ultimate echo of God.
- American Wilderness plate 8, My camera in the National Parks “I have known very few days in Yosemite and the High Sierra that were definitely unpleasant.” Ansel Adams Examples, pg 79
- Even Ansel Adams had to earn a living, Ted Orland, 1973
- On the environment “Either we go to hell or we have a revolution” Playboy Interview, May 1983
- “We must be certain that, as the rights and dignity of the individual are the most sacred elements of society, we will not allow passion, vengeance, hatred and racial antagonism to cloud the principle of universal justice and mercy.” Born Free and Equal, pg 110
- Peace at any price! Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 63
“Ansel with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter with Yosemite Book,” 11/6/79, courtesy John Sexton (right)