J500 Media and the Environment


The hardest working photog in the enviro business by travisjbrown

Who is the greatest environmental photographer in this history of the environment and photography?

Funny you should ask—considering I just spent my morning researching that exact topic.

Ansel Adams would be your man. I know, I never thought of it before now, either. Until now, I just thought he made pretty outdoor pictures that people put in their offices when they didn’t know much about art.

Now, I know you instantly scanned through your mental environmental photographer Rolodex and picked out your favorite modern environmental photog but I seriously doubt they hold a CFL to Adams’ efforts.

After years of photographing nature, Adams became so inspired that he became a full-blown environmental advocate, according to this essay by Peter Barr. He joined the Sierra Club board of directors, he lobbied congress for environmental aid in King’s River Canyon, and he was assigned to photograph national parks by the Department of Interior (however, this project quickly ended because of WWII). Adams personally met with LBJ, Johnson, Ford, and Carter to discuss environmental policy. He was also awarded the Conservation Service Award by the Interior Department and recieved a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his environmental efforts. Thats what I call a hard-working advocate.

And just look at the man’s stuff:

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Ansel Adams. Bridveil Fall. Yosemite, 1967

Waterfall: “I am nature. Hear me roar. RAAGH!”
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Ansel Adams. Snake River, Grand Tetons, 1942

Mountain: “I see you eyeing me. I will destroy you. Do not screw with me.

“The photographer showed Americans the beauty of nature. But he also put alot of American problems in perspective.

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Ansel Adams. Freeway Interchange, Los Angeles, 1967

This photograph was taken in 1967—an era when a lot of people (aka hippies) were complaining about what was wrong with the world, while driving around in psychadelic buses powered by fossil fuels and love.

It is as if Adams was telling us “Hey guys, take a step back and look at all this progress. Maybe we need to slow down and meditate on this for a while. I mean, check this other picture. Goodness, are those some pretty trees or what?”

You know, come to think of it, I’m going to have to get me an Ansel Adams for my office. Maybe it’ll make me feel like I’m working amidst nature

-Travis Brown

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5 Comments so far
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Travis, I heart Ansel…I have a Bridal Veil Fall print in my bedroom and a really nice book with his history and collections. I wish I had one for the office—but it seems that my g-fab stock photo tearsheets cover the corkboard and walls…

Kim

Comment by kimwallace

Almost people start to realize their environmental degradation when everything were gone… picture tells a thousand of words, indeed

Comment by CampusEnvironmentalist

Travis,
These images are powerful social commentary. Many of the images are our site are from the Online Environmental Museum. Looking forward to part 2 in your series.
Simran

Comment by j500

Yes. There’s a lot of great work on that site. Those artist really know how to show us the natural world that we’re missing out on.

-Travis Brown

Comment by travisjbrown

OMG

Are you kiddin’?

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