Ansel Adam's Biography
The most important result of Adams’s somewhat solitary and unmistakably different childhood was the joy that he found in nature, as evidenced by his taking long walks in the still-wild reaches of the Golden Gate. Nearly every day found him hiking the dunes or meandering along Lobos Creek, down to Baker Beach, or out to the very edge of the American continent.
When Adams was twelve he taught himself to play the piano and read music. Soon he was taking lessons, and the ardent pursuit of music became his substitute for formal schooling. For the next dozen years the piano was Adams’s primary occupation and, by 1920, his intended profession. Although he ultimately gave up music for photography, the piano brought substance, discipline, and structure to his frustrating and erratic youth. Moreover, the careful training and exacting craft required of a musician profoundly informed his visual artistry, as well as his influential writings and teachings on photography.
MostIf Adams’s love of nature was nurtured in the Golden Gate, his life was, in his words, “colored and modulated by the great earth gesture” of the Yosemite Sierra (Adams, Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, p. xiv). He spent substantial time there every year from 1916 until his death.
From his first visit, Adams was transfixed and transformed. He began using the Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie his parents had given him.