Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter—With Ansel Adams

The Environmentalist Photographer Meets the Conservation President

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While legendary photographer Ansel Adams is best known for his dramatic landscapes, he made images in many genres, including portraiture. On November 5-6, 1979, President Jimmy Carter, First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and Vice President Walter Mondale had portraits made by Adams for the National Portrait Gallery, and today they are part of that collection.

(Ansel Adams) Remarks Before the Platform Committee on the Democratic National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, August 24, 1968

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My name is Ansel Adams–photographer, writer and conservationist–of Carmel, California. l am a Director of the Sierra Club and a member of many conservation organizations, but the opinions I express are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of any organization with which I am associated.

Canyon de Chelly from White House Overlook, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, 1942

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On first traveling to Canyon de Chelly in 1937, only six years after its establishment as a national monument, Ansel Adams thought it to be the most beautiful place on earth. Astonished by the “beautiful, flowing patterns” of the sand dunes, he wrote to his wife, Virginia Best:

Ansel Adams Defined the Modern Environmental Movement

Today the environment continues to be attacked and the clock is being turned back on progress on many fronts. Ansel Adams spent decades in the battle to protect our environment.

Ansel Adams, Photographer

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Adams, Ansel (Feb. 20 1902 — Apr. 22, 1984), photographer and environmentalist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Charles Hitchcock Adams, a businessman, and Olive Bray. The grandson of a wealthy timber baron, Adams grew up in a house set amid the sand dunes of the Golden Gate.
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DNC Speech 1968: Ansel Adams Defines the Modern Environmental Movement

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As we celebrate Earth Day this year we are reminded of the diligence required to affect change. Today the environment continues to be attacked and the clock is being turned back on progress on many fronts. Ansel Adams spent decades in the battle to protect our environment. At his core, his activism was driven by his love of the environment and his humanity. The tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention included a visit from Ansel. Ever the outspoken environmentalist, Ansel gave a presentation to the DNC Platform Committee. His remarks, reprinted here , were prescient and are unfortunately more apt today than 50 years ago.

Ansel Adams, Photographer

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By William Turnage, Reprinted courtesy of the author and Oxford University Press
Ansel Adams, photographer and environmentalist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Charles Hitchcock Adams, a businessman, and Olive Bray. The grandson of a wealthy timber baron, Adams grew up in a house set amid the sand dunes of the Golden Gate. When Adams was only four, an aftershock of the great earthquake and fire of 1906 threw him to the ground and badly broke his nose, distinctly marking him for life. A year later the family fortune collapsed in the financial panic of 1907, and Adams’s father spent the rest of his life doggedly but fruitlessly attempting to recoup. An only child, Adams was born when his mother was nearly forty. His relatively elderly parents, affluent family history, and the live-in presence of his mother’s maiden sister and aged father all combined to create an environment that was decidedly Victorian and both socially and emotionally conservative. Adams’s mother spent much of her time brooding and fretting over her husband’s inability to restore the Adams fortune, leaving an ambivalent imprint on her son. Charles Adams, on the other hand, deeply and patiently influenced, encouraged, and supported his son.
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Sunshine & Shadows: The World of Ansel Adams

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KRON-TV special report from 1968, narrated by Ed Hart, about the life and work of Californian photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams (1902-84). Includes scenes of Adams hiking, taking photographs and teaching a workshop in Yosemite National Park.

How you can get involved

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There are many ways to get involved. The Ansel Adams Gallery is a Yosemite National Park Partner, and helps support the not-for-profit entities that are dedicated to protecting the resources of Yosemite or educating the public about the Park ...