Write Around PAM: Ansel Adams

Image Description: Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park. Ansel Adams. 1960. Gelatin silver print. Black and white photo of the sheer cliff wall of Half Dome in Yosemite under a waxing gibbous moon. The white moonlight reflects off the expansive Half Dome cliff edge highlighting the detailed texture in the rock appearing as vertical white lines. The jagged edges of the cliff are sharp and the top of the dome on the right appears smooth. A black edge of another cliff appears on the left side in the foreground. A large shadow in the shape of a backward L covers the right side of Half Dome extending from the right side of the photo into the middle. The rocks at the bottom of the two cliffs are slightly blurred and partially covered by shadows.
Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National ParkAnsel Adams (American, 1902–1984)1960Photograph, gelatin silver print2018.2681*Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Lane Collection*© The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust*Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Some places are so iconic, so famous, that they seem to carry their own personalities with them. You could imagine what they might be saying to one another about the world around them, about the weather, about the throngs of people who come to see them. During this holiday weekend, we invite you to spend some time putting yourself in a place you care about and imagining life from that place’s perspective. Please take this Ansel Adams photograph of Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome as inspiration. See this work in person in the exhibition Ansel Adams in Our Time on view at the Portland Art Museum now through August 1.

First, make two columns on a fresh sheet of paper. On one side, make a list of 3–5 places that have some meaning for you. 

Next, pick one place from your list and ask yourself, “If this place were a person, what would its attitude, style, and personality be?” Jot that down in the second column. 

Now, thinking about this place, with all of its personality, we invite you to write, using these 2 prompts as jumping-off points. As always, you can use one, both, or write whatever else comes. Just set a timer for 7 minutes and keep your pen or pencil moving.

I am celebrating… / I’d never seen the sky like that…

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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