Write Around PAM: Ansel Adams

Image description: Grass and Burned Stump, Sierra Nevada, California, Ansel Adams, gelatin silver print. A black and white, vertical photograph of a close-up view of a burned tree stump with grass growing at its base. Most of the photo features the highly textured burned tree bark. Deep cracks run vertically down the trunk and off to a thick root that extends to the left. The bark breaks down into uneven, corrugated segments between the vertical cracks, giving the trunk a wrinkled appearance. Sparse blades of grass grow at the base about a third of the way up the photo and are highlighted against the dark shadow on the trunk.
Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984) Grass and Burned Stump, Sierra Nevada, California, 1935, Photograph, gelatin silver print 2018.2440 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Lane Collection, © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Last Sunday, we invited you to spend some time writing with Laura McPhee’s Midsummer (Lupine and Fireweed), which offered a scene of blooming wildflowers at the foot of charred tree trunks. Today, let’s spend some time with this photograph by Ansel Adams, which McPhee cites as an inspiration for her work. Notice how a closer view provides different details and perspectives, and can offer another entry point for our writing.

We have 2 prompts to help you get started. As always, you can use one, both, or write whatever else comes. Just set a timer for 10 minutes and keep your pen or pencil moving.

My skin feels… /Something new was coming…

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 with a focus on Ansel Adams in our Time during May, June, and July. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM

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