Ansel Adams Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has fifteen years of teaching experience, primarily in Special Education and Gifted Education at the K-12 level. She has a B.A. in Elementary Education and Special Education, K-12. In addition, she has a M.A.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis in Gifted, K-12. Angela has had several research and review articles published in education journals.

Ansel Adams is one of America's most admired photographers. In this lesson, discover how Ansel became involved in preserving the environment, and see pictures of some of his most famous photographs.

Ansel Breaks His Nose

Little Ansel Adams was only four years old when he was thrown to the ground after a great earthquake struck San Francisco, California, where he lived. Ansel broke his nose during the fall, and for the rest of his life, his nose was crooked.

As a result of Ansel's ''earthquake'' nose, shyness, and the possibility that he may have been hyperactive and dyslexic, a type of reading disability, he never really fit in at school. He found schoolwork difficult, so when he turned 12, his father and aunt started tutoring him at home.

Ansel loved nature and found comfort in hiking the dunes by his home and wandering along the beach. These experiences helped him become one of America's most famous photographers and environmentalists. An environmentalist is a person who helps to improve and protect the natural world and keep it safe from harmful human activities. Let's find out more about Ansel.

Ansel Discovers Music

Ansel Adams was born on February 20, 1902, to Charles Hitchcock Adams and Olive Bray; he was their only child. Ansel's father loved nature and shared this love with his son; for example, he bought him a telescope so they could study the stars together.

Ansel Adams with Camera
Ansel Adams

When Ansel was 12-years-old, he taught himself how to read music and play the piano, eventually taking lessons and becoming a remarkable pianist. Ansel wanted to become a professional pianist - until he discovered another love - photography.

Ansel Joins the Sierra Club

Ansel received his first camera at age 14 after he begged his parents to take him to Yosemite National Park. A national park is a historically or scenically important area protected by the United States government in order to preserve wildlife and provide enjoyable experiences for the public. Ansel was in awe of the beauty that surrounded him at Yosemite and it changed his life.

Yosemite National Park, 1933

When he was 17, Ansel joined the Sierra Club, which works to preserve Earth's natural wonders and resources; he remained a member for the rest of his life. Through the club, Ansel met many famous and respected photographers and learned a lot about taking pictures.

It was also through the Sierra Club that Ansel met a woman named Virginia while taking care of a lodge in Yosemite over the summer. He eventually married Virginia and they had two children, Michael and Anne.

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