View Full Version : Ansel Adams NOT among century's most influential?

Stewart Ethier
4-Jun-1998, 16:54
Time Magazine, in its June 8 issue, lists the 100 most influential artists and e ntertainers of the 20th century. Included are 6 photographers: Henri Cartier-B resson, W. Eugene Smith, Paul Strand, Edward Weston, Robert Frank, and Cindy Sherman. The first four would be on ever yone's list. But Cindy Sherman instead of Ansel Adams? Does this make any sens e?

Indranath Neogy
4-Jun-1998, 17:26
It's a very difficult comparison. Cindy Sherman is one of THE photographers of the postmodern era, doing serious and elegant work on representation, particularly of the fairer sex.

Ansel Adams is well, Ansel Adams... In many ways he defines the popular conception of "photography" and of course he was a famed printer and user of big negatives. (I belive most of Sherman's work was on 35mm)

It all comes down to how you define art, I suspect Time put great value on Sherman's intellectual contributions to "art" over Adams work in "photography."

Ellis Vener
5-Jun-1998, 14:27
I think that Adam's big influence was as first as an enviromentalist, secondly a s a teacher of both technical and modernist (aka abstract) art philosophies and thirdly as a photographer. Just a quick glance over the list of people listed sh ows a bias towards photograhic artists: people intensely making personal stateme nts through the medium of photography. I too admire some of AA's photographic wo rk, and much of what he did has certainly played a role in opening my eyes to th e possibilities of light and film.

8-Jun-1998, 11:29
Time let its own criteria ("Influence over greatness") fail them in the Photogra phy category: critics and photographers will debate forever the "genius" of Alfr ed Steiglitz and Ansel Adams, but few will dispute that these two were probably the most "influential" photographers of the twentieth century. Suffice it to say that if either man hadn't done what he did for the medium of photography, the c ategory wouldn't even have been in this issue of Time.

Cindy Sherman? Let's just say there were, uh, issues of "balance" involved, and apparently Time doesn't think much of Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White, or Imogen Cunningham. Does anybody think that even 1 out 100 photographers working today--who are, according to Time, influenced by Cindy Sherman--can describe a s ingle image that she's made? 'Nuff said.

Stuart Goldstein
9-Jun-1998, 08:40
Why get bent out of shape over who was include and who was excluded from a "list of the greatest photographers," at least according to that Time Magazine.

Remember this magazine is meant for general consumption, not for photography aff icianados (like the folks in this group). Time wants to give the masses names to mention at a party so that they feel intelligent. Ignore the list, it's just th ere to generate discussion of their article (and sales of their magazine).

Besides, they boldly stated that the "Truman Show" is the best movie of the deca de. I saw it. It's not and doesn't even come close. So let Time make all the dec larations it wants to make. We don't have to listen.

9-Jun-1998, 09:07
I was listening to NPR and they were discussing, I belive, writers, that were an d weren't on T***s list, and the discussion was a lot like this one. I think T* *e just found a way to get a lot of free publicity, when was the last t**e you a ctually bought one?

Lukas Werth
9-Jun-1998, 13:50
Though I have not read the article, I certainly agree with those statements sayi ng in effect that the article is irrelevant, meant for publicity and allowing pe ople to drop some names. 100 is a pretty arbitrary number, isn't it? Excluding a rtists like Stieglitz and Lange also seems, as bill Dayly mentioned, pretty stra nge. An in these fragmented times, who is going to say what art is and what not? If we think AA's strife for technical perfection does not fall into the realm o f art proper, I am afraid we have to remove, for instance, 15th century artists - or artisans?- like da Vinci, Michelangelo, Bottichelli and others from the Ol ymp of high art. There are good reasons to argue that the concept of art as we h ave it today has some of its most important roots in that time in Italy, and wha t hapened there and then was very much a search for perfection in illustrating, motivated by the discovery of perspective. -So, whether one likes the work of AA or not (I do!), he explored the possibilities of communitation of the Photograf ic medium, his influence is continuing so far -what do you expect more of a grea t artist?

Darron Spohn
11-Jun-1998, 00:33
We are assuming here that the editors and writers at Time magazine have heard of Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange et al. This may be an invalid assumption.

Steve Singleton
16-Jun-1998, 01:17
For large formatists it may be heretical, but how is Adams all that influential? He was treading a path already well-worn by pioneers of landscape photography like William Henry Jackson. Yes, he produced much technically superb, very acce ssible photography; he certainly wasn't an innovator in artistic terms.

Jim Worthington
18-Jul-1998, 14:50
I have been reading about photography's history in the early 20th century and I must admit that Ansel Adams' role is still unclear to me. In some ways, he seem s like more of an environmentalist. A recent biography (not the one by Ms. Alin der) seems to support this idea. In others, he seems clearly in the modernist f old of making photos (I'm thinking right now of the rose set on driftwood and th e weathered barn -- sorry I don't remember better titles as I type this) that sh ow the capacity of the medium. On the other hand, I am personally much more inspired to go and photograph when I see an Ansel Adams landscape than a Cindy Sheman film still. That's just what inspires me.

Jeff White
2-Jul-2000, 09:23
I know that this is a very old question. Isn't Ansel Adams the only photographer to ever appear on the cover of Time Magazine.

Bob Salomon
2-Jul-2000, 15:43
"I know that this is a very old question. Isn't Ansel Adams the only photographer to ever appear on the cover of Time Magazine. "

Didn't Alfred Eisenstadt? And he was a Time employee.

Just think, besides AEisenstadt apparently White (Margret), Stackpole, Morse, et al that were the famous Time Life photographers are not on the list. Are they?