A letter Ansel Adams, an icon of landscape photography,
sent to his friend Cedric Wright on June 10, 1937
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….
Friendship is another form of love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptances 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.