Ansel Adams

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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ANSEL ADAMS I was born to be on the move my entire life. I have always felt the urge to explore and to enrich myself with the beauty of my surroundings. I credit my creative instincts and my visionary sense to the good fortune of spending my youth on the sand dunes and beaches of San Francisco as well as to the influence of my father, Charles Adams. My grandfather, William Adams, whose roots began in Thomaston, Maine, traveled to San Francisco in 1857 with his bride, Cassandra McIntyre. Here he developed a successful lumber and shipping business. He was a man of wealth until the Depression. My father, Charles, was the youngest of five children born in 1868. My mother, Olive Bray, grew up in Carson City, Nevada. It was a lifestyle filled with fine culture and social gatherings. My mother and father met at a social event in San Francisco and were married in 1896.

Six years later I was born on the twentieth of February. We lived in a comfortable house and from my bedroom window I could enjoy the view of the Golden Gate and the ships out at sea. This was the beginning of my admiration for nature's captivating beauty.

My childhood was filled with illness and a disturbing mental state that now would be called, hyperactive. The doctor believed it was best for me to spend time indoors in a darkened room when what I truly needed was outdoor activity. This restlessness of mine continued to disrupt my school experience. My father decided to tutor me at home in literature and language. He kept me busy during the day with extensive piano lessons and a wonderful gift of a season pass to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition which I visited nearly every day. I eventually...