In 1906, the aftershock of an earthquake in Golden Gate threw a young Ansel to the ground and he broke his nose, leaving it permanently disfigured. This, coupled with his likely dyslexia and solitary childhood drew him to nature. Almost everyday he would wonder for hours even walking to the very edge of the American continent.

Portrait of Ansel Adams by J. Malcolm Greany. Image: Wikimedia Commons Portrait of Ansel Adams by J. Malcolm Greany. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Ansel spend a great deal of his life at the Yosemite Sierra where he would hike and explore. He joined the Sierra Club which led to his passion for photographing nature. Adams would join the Club on their annual month long hike in the Sierra Nevada and acted as photographer for these trips. By the late 1920s, Adams came to realize that his photography could prosper into a career.

Ansel Adams, Moonrise Hernandez Ansel Adams, Moonrise Hernandez

1927 was a pivotal year for Adams, he began a friendship with artist patron Albert M. Bender. Albert realized Ansel's dream of publishing his work and aided the publication of Adams' first portfolio Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras. 

Ansel Adams, Half Dome, Merced River Winter, 1938 Ansel Adams, Half Dome, Merced River Winter, 1938

That same year, Adams met fellow photographer Edward Weston. The pair founded Group f/64 in 1932, which, although short-lived, brought to America the photography of the West Coast. That year, the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco exhibited the work of f/64 and later, in the same year, gave Adams his first solo show.

Ansel Adams, Mt. Mckinkey and Wonder Lake Ansel Adams, Mt. Mckinkey and Wonder Lake

What Adams did for photography in America was incredible. He would work for sometimes over 18 hours a day and often for very little financial benefit. Partly due to him the first museum department of photography, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was established. At a time when the world was becoming increasingly industrialized, Adams photographs became a symbol of America's wilderness.

Ansel Adams, Vertical Aspens, 1958. Image: Clars Auction Gallery Ansel Adams, Vertical Aspens, 1958. Image: Clars Auction Gallery

At the beginning of this year, Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland held their annual photography sale on January 21. The auction included a rare portfolio of 15 gelatin silver prints by Ansel Adams. Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian sold for $51 425.

In the same auction, another gelatin silver print by Adams, Vertical Aspens sold for $11 495. Check out more realized prices for Ansel Adams here.

Comment