Video Essay on Ansel Adams: Review

Ansel Adams’ photography, and photography as fine art generally, is a difficult topic to cover in a way that respects the process and intention of the artist—in the video above, Evan Puschak (Nerdwriter1) does a valiant job of doing just that. Covering Adam’s career, unique techniques, body of work, philosophy of art, and more, I find this video essay to be one of the best at conveying what exactly makes one of the legends of photography so great. Puschak’s video essays are as well produced as they are thoughtful, and in my opinion, are some of the best in both categories that I’ve come across on the Internet. His essays are cinematic, constantly visual, and pull you along in a (somewhat cheesy but altogether genuine) arc of drama propelled only by Evan’s insatiable desire to explain why what he’s discussing is as fascinating as he thinks it is. Puschak utilizes primary footage of Adams himself seamlessly; not only hearing his words but seeing the man himself express his philosophy within Puschak’s framing and explanation gives the entire video weight, gravitas, and engagement you wouldn’t expect from a typical YouTube video essay. The concepts aren’t just explained, or taught: they’re shown, and in such a clear and well-visualized way that one doesn’t even notice they don’t know what aperture or F-Sto means. If the goal of good educational media is to teach and change perspective in a short but engaging creative work, Puschak’s video is a very well-executed example.

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