Letter from Ansel

I just found these words by Ansel Adams on James Brandon O’Shea’s beautiful blog, and I felt utterly compelled to share them here. I’m not going to say anything else, simply read the words and see where they take you, and they surely will.

June 10, 1937

Dear Cedric,

A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that relate to those who are loved and those who are real friends.

For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what art should be.

Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. Children are not only of flesh and blood – children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad of mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.

Friendship is another form of love – more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptance of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality.

Art is both love and friendship and understanding: the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of things. It is more than kindness, which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light of the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is a recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the interrelations of these.


Hope these words meant as much to you as they did to me, and with them clasped firmly I’m heading out, saying farewell, for now. Catch you soon!


21 responses

  1. Fare well, so long, safe and meaningful journey. Have to think about the words. The photo is easy: I love it, I would go there if it was around the corner.

    May 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    • And that’s the thing, isn’t it? All we want, all we need is right around the corner, all we need is some perspective…Thanks, and yes, hopefully the journey will turn out to be a meaningful one, it simply needs to be.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

  2. That is beautiful, in words and images,simply beautiful!

    May 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    • That’s so kind of you, thanks so much Adrian.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm

  3. Wonderful words. I especially like his definition of art. May you have a meaningful and prosperous journey. Looking forward to what you bring back with you.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    • Oh yes, isn’t his definition so incredibly beautiful and inspiring? I’m in awe I tell you…Thanks so much, Mobius. Catch you soon.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm

  4. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful words. Until next time… Farewell.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:45 am

    • And aren’t they just? Not only was he a master photographer, he also had the ‘heart’ to go with his talent. Catch you soon!

      May 9, 2012 at 8:07 pm

  5. Just beautiful!!! Safe journey!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:16 am

  6. Beautiful! and the image tones are perfect!

    May 9, 2012 at 5:09 am

    • Thanks brother, glad you liked these. So I’ll see you soon then. And good luck with your (film) projects!

      May 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      • I find it very hard to develope them cause where i live no one develops 120 film rolls, i have to choose now if i will learn and start developing for my self or i ll just pause the film projects for the moment.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:01 am

  7. Art is both love and friendship and understanding: the desire to give. Just so true like your frame is beautiful, brother. And because we know through Ansel Adams that beauty is just around the next corner on we go. Turning that corner to find ourselves on the road that’s going straight out of town & in that magical light shining through the tress just to end up in longing, lonesomeness & your mythical point of view. Drowning again. Rolling again.

    All the best & safe travels, Fritsch.

    May 9, 2012 at 10:48 am

    • Beautiful words from my brother in arms. Thank you so much Fritsch, and believe me I’m taking your words with me on this journey…Be well my friend, and safe travels to you too. See you around that next corner!

      May 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm

  8. glennweissel

    He certainly had an artist’s soul to pen words that are so moving and heart-felt. Matches his images perfectly!

    thanks for sharing!

    May 9, 2012 at 10:56 pm

  9. That’s a beautiful image and a beautiful piece of writing.

    Good luck with your adventure, Jean-Pierre!

    May 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm

  10. I like this, JP – “It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light of the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit.” really strikes a chord!

    How are you getting on? Gone far? Good images? People interviewed? Adrian

    May 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm

  11. I’m wondering how your adventure is going, Jean-Pierre, and I hope you are well.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm

  12. Are you still alive, JP? Is the road treating you good? Gimme a sign, gimme your beauties & tell me which road you’re on right now.
    All the best & safe travels, Fritsch.

    October 25, 2012 at 11:04 am

  13. Yes, JP – following on from Fritsch above here – where are you, man? Meanderer and I were talking about you only the other day, as having dropped off the radar and not been heard from.

    I hope you’re fine and that things are going well! Adrian

    October 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm

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