|Plot||This American Experience documentary which aired on WGBH, Boston, in 2002, explores the many sides of legendary photographer Ansel Adams. Most associate him with black and white images of Yosemite and other wilderness areas he captured with his large format camera. His passion for nature is well-known. But, Adams had another interest so intense that he was forced to make a decision early in his life as to what would occupy most of his energy, photography or classical music performance. The latter he pursued in his birthplace, San Francisco, and had he not spent quite as much time outdoors and particularly in Yosemite Valley, we might be missing some of the world's most famous and most beautiful photographs. In typical Ric Burns fashion, we are presented a satisfying overview of this the man who was most influential in making photography into art. This effort is one of the director's most intimate efforts, perhaps because of his love of the subject matter. The film satisfies our need to understand the influences on the photographer's life and the ways that he helped shape contemporary attitudes regarding the preservation of the wilderness. We also come away from the film with some of that same respect for the Adams himself.... search for Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film on IMDb|
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|Ric Burns's documentary for the American Experience series winningly persuades one to think of Ansel Adams as not only the greatest American photographer of the 20th century, but also one of its most treasured artists. Using the familiar formula of New York (and his brother Ken's documentaries), Burns vividly brings Adams's world to life. Narrator David Ogden Stiers is used minimally after the initial set-up, leaving the words to curators, authors, and family members who knew Adams's life and art best (Adams's own letters are also voiced). The film, sponsored by the Sierra Club to mark the 100th anniversary of the photographer's birth, makes a passionate plea for this man "who helped transfer the meaning of wilderness and what people thought about it." There is plenty of time for his magnificent pictures to be shown, often nicely accompanied by modern-day color films of the area. It's a must-see for any fan of Adams. --Doug Thomas|
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