Although I don’t consider myself very knowledgable about photography, I have always found Ansel Adams’ classic landscapes of the American West intriguing. This particular photo is a great example of some of the things I like about his work.
First of all, I’m a big fan of the black and white style. It forces the viewer to focus more on the shading and composition of the piece, and makes the long shadows often found in his pictures pop out. It’s especially important in this photo due to the angular structures of the old pueblo building. The darker coloration of the back building causes the front gate to pop out in the foreground, and the bell’s form is highlighted by both sun and shadow. Furthermore, the descending ‘steps’ on top of the building are lit up bright white due to the sun beating down on them directly. Even the doorway of the front wall is made more spatially noticeable by the ring of darkness around the inside. The black and white style adds an extra dimension to the photo that might have been lost with more coloration.
I also enjoy the composition of the photo and the way Adams’ chose to arrange the buildings together. The almost interlocking way the two buildings align emphasizes the size of the buildings and the way the two work as a whole. The white crosses atop the two walls are a stark contrast with the darker buildings below and the grey sky above.
Adams’ style is one that draws into focus aspects of the building that might not have been as prevalent as before. For this reason, I really like this piece and the different perspective it offers on an old southwestern place.