Ansel Adams’ former assistant talks about working with the master

Looking at Ansel Adams: The Photographs and the Man

Few photographers have had more impact on America than Ansel Adams, and we are very excited to be able to celebrate his birthday with his former assistant, Andrea Stillman. Andrea’s talk will be an intimate look at the photographer and the man. Said an attendee at one of her museum lectures, “You made Ansel come to life for all of us.”

Here is what Andrea has to say about working with Ansel: “I first met Ansel in 1972 when he came to New York to discuss an exhibition of his photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I worked. I was immediately impressed by his open friendly demeanor, his sense of humor and his modesty. We worked together for two years on his retrospective, and after it opened in the spring of 1974 he asked me to move to Carmel and become his assistant. I leapt at the chance, and for the next six years I worked for Ansel in his home studio. He always had a photographic assistant to help in the darkroom, so I did everything else. This included managing the sale of hundreds of his photographs – everything from telling Ansel which negative to print to approving the final mounted photograph and writing the title on the back. I also edited his writing and lectures and worked with him on innumerable books of his photographs — selecting the images, assisting with the production, and working on press to assure the best reproductions. I also accompanied him on many trips to open exhibitions and promote new books. One of my last tasks was to organize his extensive archive. It included an enormous correspondence with artists like Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Edward Weston and hundreds of his photographs made over more than fifty years–ranging from a unique 3 1⁄4×4 1⁄4inch contact print of lodgepole pines in the High Sierra made when he was nineteen years old to an enormous 40 x 60 inch mural size print of Mount McKinley made in the 1960s. In addition I produced a one-hour documentary on his life for public television.”

Andrea G. Stillman’s Site


Walt Disney – Dream Big

Walt Disney is a legend; a folk hero of the 20th century. His worldwide popularity was based upon the ideals which his name represents: imagination, optimism, creation, and self-made success in the American tradition. Walt Disney’s dream of a clean, and organized amusement park, came true, as Disneyland Park opened in 1955. What a feeling that must have been.

If you can dream it, you can do it.
– Walt Disney



















Photo Feed 03.15.13

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Black and White Elegance

I really like the simplicity of the photos for this campaign.

Black and White Elegance – Cara Delevingne nabs yet anther campaign with the spring 2013 advertisements from South Korean label Beanpole. The British beauty poses for Richard Phibbs in an elegant series of black and white images with styling by Raymond Chae. / Make-up by Sally Branka, Hair by Raphael Salley







Death Do Us Part

Death Do Us Part is the fear of letting go of our past in order to reach for the future. When we take this leap of faith we decide to let go of our fears. We begin free falling with nothing to hold on to. These are the rare instances that we are actually living in the moment. Your support is the driving force behind our project. We could not have done this without you. We have made it this far because you shared and supported us through our social networking sites. We were able to connect with the people in this film because of the internet. Every time you share or like this project it brings us one step closer to photographing your town, people you know, possibly even you.
Become a part of our journey;
Instagram username : ianruhter!/silverandlight

Photo Feed – 03.06.12

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Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout

Last week I was introduced to this camera test by a friend. It shows you, its not about the machine.

We’ve got a lot to prove in Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012. Some of it will surprise you, some of it will shock you, and some of it will change the way you work forever. Let’s make this clear: This is not the shootout you’re expecting.

Will you see the empirical testing where we set the lighting, keep it constant, and run all the cameras through so pixel pushers are happy knowing they’ve made the right purchase? Sure. What’s new and different is that we’re going to show you what you can do with each of these cameras on the same set by letting expert DPs who’ve mastered these cameras get creative with them. They’ve figured out the best profiles, they know how to light for their camera while keeping color timing in mind. This shootout is about two things- what a camera is capable of and what a DP can do with his abilities to make it look great with all of his skills, experience and talent. The key element here is talent. There are no winners as with all of our tests, since winning is dependent on your abilities.

This 90 minute documentary will be presented in three parts that will air on the 15th of June, July, and August. It’s critical you watch all three episodes to fully understand the total message. Each segment will feature three of the nine camera masters describing their approach to the creative shot. The three parts are interwoven and each will feature new guests imparting their knowledge and wisdom for you to learn from. Stop, listen and learn, it’s not all about the cameras! I hope you enjoy this passion project we call Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout.






Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 – Part One: Starting With Darkness from Zacuto on Vimeo.

Continue reading Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout

Spike Jonze – The Early Years

Spike Jonze has directed enough Hollywood movies to be considered a seasoned vet. In addition to memorable films like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are, Jonze has directed videos by some of the’90s most prolific bands: The Breeders, Weezer and The Beastie Boys to name a few. In the skateboarding world, his videos are legendary. Hands down his work here has dominated, he’s constantly pushing the envelope with the ideas he puts forth in his videos. While not as widely known as his film work – his photography is where he got his start, and where he also pushed the envelope with creativity.

Spike Jonze grew up in Maryland, pursuing his love for BMX, (and eventually skateboarding) which in turn lead to photography. After touring around with the Haro BMX team through the US, Spike’s photography skills caught the attention of Freestylin’ Magazine in California. During his tenure at Freestylin’, Spike was one of the main photographers, he went on to contribute to Club Homeboy Magazine and later Dirt, TransWorld Skateboarding and Grand Royal Magazine.

In BMX and skateboarding, Spike introduced new angles and processes. He relied heavily on his fisheye, shot both black and white and color, and also toyed around a lot with photocopying and hand coloring of slides. His photography always took on an extra level – like he was trying to create the graphics and art that would accompany an editorial layout onto the film within his camera.

The photography of Spike Jonze has captured some of the pivotal moments in BMX, skateboarding and indie music of the late ‘80s to mid-nineties. His eye for uniqueness and composition catapulted him to videographer. Through video and photography, he is truly one of the great image creators of my generation.














J. Grant Brittain – Documenting a culture

I was trying to find a way to introduce this post, and I found this quote from DLSR Mag. (Source)

I’ve been skateboarding since I was 8, and Grant’s photos were amongst the first I’d ever seen. They changed my life forever. I think that no other person managed to capture the awesomeness that surrounded skateboarding at that time, the beginning of a culture. We will never again feel what they felt, or recreate it today. Grant Brittain wasn’t just another skateboard photographer, for me he represents a time, a lifestyle, pointing me in the direction of what I’m doing now, so you could say that he influenced my life choices. That’s what I’m always looking for in an artist: that he doesn’t just create stuff, but that he sticks with his time, becoming a witness, a catalyst, in order to influence another generation. Grant is all this and more.

Photographer J. Grant Brittain holds one of his  photographs of local skateboarder Chris Miller at the Action Sports Retail show at the San Diego Convention Center on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. Brittain and Miller were signing to posters with the proceeds gAbout Grant:

Grant Brittain picked up a camera at the ripe old age of 25 and started shooting his friends skateboarding at the Del Mar Skate Ranch. The “Ranch” was a skatepark in a small beach town north of San Diego, California that he managed in the early 1980s, and it was there that he honed his photographic skills. After blowing massive amounts of film, he took every photo class Palomar Junior College had to offer. And with that, he felt he finally learned how to manipulate his 35mm camera.

While at college, an influential instructor introduced Brittain to the vast world of photography, and set him on his creative path. In 1983, Grant was asked to contribute skate photos to the premiere issue of TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine and became its founding Photo Editor and Senior Photographer.

Over the past twenty years, Brittain has helped TransWorld grow into the most popular skate mag in the world, and has captured the best skateboarders of the last two decades in photos that have become classics. He has also taught some of the best skate photographers, past and present, and helped them develop their own work. He hopes that they have gotten as much inspiration from him as he gets from them.

Over the years Brittain’s personal work-abstracts, portraits, landscapes and travel images-seems to draw from the opposite energy of his action images. His “off hours” are consumed by a search for calmer and more serene subjects. Still lakes at night and solitary desert forms are among the subjects of his diverse personal work. Some of his portraits of well-known athletes even manage to divulge a more reflective side of their personalities.

Few photographers have pursued so wide a range of subjects and styles. But few individuals find themselves so central to such an active community, where one’s perspective is just a notch askew of the rest, and where movement and progression is the norm.

Grant Brittain’s body of work reflects his deep involvement in an emerging youth culture, as well as his escape from it. Grant and a group of the skateboarding elite talent have left TWS and started The Skateboard Mag, check it at: and at shops and newsstands

— Miki Vuckovich (via


You can also purchase his prints over here:


Lisbon Sources:

All photos are copyright J. Grant Brittain