Write Around PAM: Ansel Adams

Image description: Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, Ansel Adams, 1941, (negative) printed later, gelatin silver print. A black and white, landscape photograph showing a moon in a dark night sky over mountains, a church and graveyard. The photo is divided roughly in half with the top portion holding the dark, almost black sky. Towards the center of the work the sky lightens, and wispy clouds stretch across the photo. An almost full moon sits just left of center in the lighter sky above the light gray clouds. A snow-peaked mountain range sits under the clouds with scrubland below it. At far left a pueblo-style church with steep flat walls rises in the foreground topped with a small white cross. Low lying outbuildings and trees continue across to the right side of the photo where they meet with a cluster of crosses and headstones. Each cross is slightly different, and all seem to reflect the light and show up brightly against the darker background. Dark scrubby bushes continue to the bottom of the photograph.
Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984), Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941; print date: 1965–75, Photograph, gelatin silver print, 2018.2730, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Lane Collection © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Ansel Adams took this photograph on the side of the highway, after glancing out the window while driving. It has since become one of his most famous pieces. We invite you to use it as inspiration in your own writing today. First, think of a moment when you were out in the world and caught by surprise by what you saw. Maybe it was a beautifully unexpected vista on a hike, or an intricate flower blooming in a crack in the sidewalk, or a scene like Adams experienced while out on the road. Take some time to reflect on the moments that a landscape can leave us unexpectedly in awe. 

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 12 minutes and keep your pen or pencil moving.

In the rearview mirror… / When we looked up…

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. This is our last piece connected with Ansel Adams in our Time. Thank you for writing with us through this exhibition! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM

Related Content