American beauty spots
Oak Tree, Snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, California, 1948
Ansel Adams was a fervent eco-warrior long before the term had even been coined: the American photographer was championing environmentalism as far back as the 1910s. One visit to Yosemite National Park as a teenager in 1916 put paid to his plans of becoming a concert pianist. Instead he concentrated his restive energy on photographing unspoilt pockets of natural beauty. With the eye of both an artist and an enamoured conservationist, he captured their majesty and minutiae in rich, romantic monochrome and made his name in the process. Contemporary Henri Cartier Bresson may have accused Adams of ignoring social ills by excluding human presence, but today, of course, that makes his images all the more pertinent.