Write Around PAM: Ansel Adams

Image Description: Cemetery Statue and Oil Derricks, Long Beach, California. Ansel Adams. 1939. Photograph, gelatin silver print. Square black and white photo of a statue of a female with flowing wavy hair parted in the middle and gently falling onto her shoulders. Her eyes are closed and she has a peaceful, but solemn expression on her face. The figure is wearing a flowing robe-like garment with several ripples and folds. Her chin is gently resting on the folded fingers of her right hand and her elbow is resting on her knee. Her right foot and toes peek out from under the robe. She holds a wreath of daisy-like flowers in her left hand as it rests on her lowered left knee. The sculpture is on a cement pedestal that is partially visible with rounded corners decorated with filigrees. The figure seems illuminated while the evergreen trees, fifteen oil derricks, and sky in the background are much darker.
Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984), Cemetery Statue and Oil Derricks, Long Beach, California, 1939, Photograph, gelatin silver print, 2018.2572, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Lane Collection. © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

In addition to grand sweeping vistas, Ansel Adams spent time photographing the urban landscapes surrounding his home. This weekend, we invite you to spend some time closer to the city, writing within this place. Take a moment to imagine standing where Adams did when he took this photograph. What do you notice? What if you look closer? How does it feel to be here? What can you hear or smell? If you turn around, what else might you see? Bring these reflections onto the page, and notice what else comes up for you. Take a moment to think about what landscape can mean for you in your every day. Experience this work in person in the Ansel Adams in Our Time exhibition on view now through August 1 at the Portland Art Museum.

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.

She always wondered… / Beyond the horizon…

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. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM

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