Ansel Adams

What I love about this clip of Ansel, apart from how modest he is, and seems like a really easy going chap, is how open he is about his art. He explains how he manipulated his images in his dark room, and how he liked to 'visualise' the scene before he took it. Essentially, the negative for Ansel was the starting point in creating his 'visions', and to look at the negative printed verbatim would have been an uninspiring experience. He coined the phrase 'the negative is the score, and the print is the performance'.

Now what gets me is that there are a load of folk out there who think manipulation of the image is lying. And that it's a relatively new thing since the digital revolution came along, but If you listen to Ansel, you'll realise that manipulation of the image has always been there, and it's part of the creative process of photography. Sure I love it when an image comes together that requires no alterations, but I do like to put my own 'art' into my work, as do many photographers.

Ansel was very forward thinking and he embraced the (at the time) forthcoming digital revolution. He thought it was exciting and it would lead to new possibilities. He was a purist in the artistic sense and was no dictator of what should and should not be acceptible as art.