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Ansel Adams

Monolith: The Face of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, from the portfolio Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras
1926-1927/printed 1927
gelatin silver print
11 7/8 x 9 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase. Used with permission of the Trustees of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. All rights reserved.

Adams’s photograph of the soaring face of Half Dome marked a turning point in his career. It was the first time he was able to capture exactly the image he saw in his mind’s eye at the moment of exposure. The sharp detail and broad range of tonalities defined the aesthetic standards Adams would set for landscape photography throughout the twentieth century.