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Tetons and The Snake River, Grand Teton National Park

Artist: Ansel Adams
Created: 1942
Format: Photograph

Tetons and The Snake River, Grand Teton National Park

Ansel Adams’ outstanding photograph ‘Tetons and The Snake River, Grand Teton National Park’ was immortalized by wildlife and wild lands enthusiasts. The scene, which was taken in 1942 during a rainstorm, is a flawless demonstration of Adams’ talent in photographing under natural light and difficult weather conditions.

The winding Snake River runs through a valley between a mountain range in Grand Teton National Park. Skillfully utilizing what little light might be obtainable during a rainfall, Adams captures a remarkable glow on the river and an almost God-like radiance behind the clouds, leaving the remaining scene partly shadowed. Adams was a master in realizing idyllic tonal contrasts. 

The snow-capped mountains looming in the background are not only majestic in appearance but also bring about a feeling of pristine quietude. This iconic photograph of unspoiled wilderness might not have occurred if not for the unplanned detour Ansel Adams took while travelling to Yellowstone.

Ansel Adams in Space

‘Tetons and The Snake River, Grand Teton National Park’ stirred so much emotion in its minimalistic beauty and serenity that it was sent aboard the satellites Voyageur 1 and 2 in 1977 as part of a collection of 115 pictures on the Voyageur Golden Record. These exceptional images are intended to present Earth’s diversity to potential extraterrestrial life forms, and to document aspects of our history for the benefit of future humankind.

About the Artist

In 1916, Ansel Adams received a Kodak Brownie box camera from his father during a family trip to Yosemite National Park. The gift was a defining moment in Adams’s life as he began photographing nature in all its splendour. He would return to Yosemite many times throughout his career.

Adams received notable respect and recognition for his powerful and distinctive photographs on wildlife and wilderness. Eventually, his enthusiasm would lead him to co-found the Group f/64, a gathering of seven photographers who were encouraged to experiment with new approaches to pictorial technique and style, ultimately motivating Adams to begin demonstrating his own applied methods of photography.

In 1941, Adams began teaching at the Art Center School of Los Angeles, now known as the Art Center College of Design.


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