Write Around PAM: Ansel Adams

[Image description: Ansel Adams, Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Monument, California, gelatin silver print. A black and white, portrait-oriented photograph of steep sand dunes shown in high contrast shadow and light. The ridge of the main dune begins at upper left, crosses to the upper right then zig zags down to the lower edge of the photo. The steep sides contrast in tone. The right side of the dune is bathed in light and appears as pale gray, while the left slope of the dune is split between being almost black at its upper portion then changing to a medium gray as the dune catches more sunshine. In the background a black, horizontal dune appears, stretching from left to right contrasting with the highlights of the main dunes’ ridge. At upper right in the background, a distant dune appears as a medium gray tone.]
Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984), Sand Dunes, Sunrise, Death Valley National Monument, California, Negative date: about 1948, Photograph, gelatin silver print, 2018.2686, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Lane Collection, © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

This work by Ansel Adams captures the seemingly solid, yet always fluid, energy of sand dunes. Shifting under foot, blowing in wind, never looking the same day to day, and yet steadily there. This “sand dune” energy feels like it mirrors our ever-shifting realities as we continue to grapple with changes at school, work, and home in response to the pandemic. We invite you to spend some time today writing about the ever-changing landscape of your everyday, using this landscape photograph as inspiration. 

We have two prompts to help you get started. As always, you can use one, both, or write whatever else comes. Just set a timer for six minutes and keep your pen or pencil moving.

Things that have changed… / Things that have stayed the same…

Experience this work in person when you visit Ansel Adams in Our Time, on view through August 1. Writing in community is powerful. We are grateful to our longtime partner Write Around Portland for the writing prompts and inspiration. You can revisit past Sunday posts and look for continuing weekly posts through the summer. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM

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