Ansel Adams: A Letter

Last week I came across this letter from the legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams to his friend Cedric. I thought it was nice, and kind of poetic in itself.

 

 

June 19, 1937.

 

Dear Cedric,

 

A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that related to those who are loved and those who are real friends. For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what art should be. Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone. Children are not only of flesh and blood — children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it. Friendship is another form of love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptance of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality. Art is both love and friendship, and understanding; the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of things, it is more than kindness which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the inter-relations of these. I wish the thundercloud had moved up over Tahoe and let loose on you; I could wish you nothing finer.

 

– Ansel

(Source: Letters of a Nation, by Andrew Carroll)

 

 

Ansel-Adams-on-Car-3

 

 

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