Perhaps no other photographer consistently catalogued the defining images of the American West, and of pre-tourism National Parks as Ansel Adams. The Grand Canyon, The Grand Tetons, Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Death Valley; these are just a sampling of the landscapes captured in Adams shot signature high-contrast black and white photographs. Using his work to further the goals of signature environmental movements, Adams would insist, in his words “beauty comes first.” Credited with advancing photography as an artform on par with music and painting, Adams became an American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow in 1966, and was given the nation’s highest civilian honor in 1980, when President Jimmy Carter awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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