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Plot & Details

Ansel Adams chronicles the life and art of one of America's best-loved photographers. Raised by a doting father who encouraged Adams' eccentricities, the young boy focused his intense energy on becoming a concert pianist. Adams discovered his life's work, however, when he visited Yosemite Valley with his family in 1916 and his father presented him with a small camera. His hobby became a vocation when he rejected the sacrifices necessary to become a professional musician. In the late 1920s, he married Virginia Best and in 1930, opened a studio for commercial work. By 1935, Adams had received wide recognition for his photographs of Yosemite, though some critics claimed his work lacked social vision. Environmentalists, however, would later embrace his images of the wilderness. Adams also played a central role in lobbying for the protection of Kings Canyon, which became a National Park in 1940. For the next 15 years, the photographer worked at the height of his powers. In 1980, Adams was presented with the country's highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died on April 22, 1984.

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