Ansel Adams and the Golden Ratio

Ansel Adams is one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, and photographer Elliot McGucken may have discovered a reason why. While viewing some of Adams’ public domain work, McGucken realized the presence of the golden ratio in the compositions. Read more.

5 Comments leave a comment below

  1. The article on is titled “Images Reveal How Perfectly Ansel Adams’ Photos Align With the Golden Ratio” but the overlays reveal that these photos are far from perfect in matching the golden ratio.

    Maybe they are close? But it doesn’t really look that close to me.

  2. I was only thinking about this the other day. I leant about this in design school, but find very “post rationalisation” mumbo jumbo.

    I could crop the images any way I want to suit the golden ratio.

    The example of the portrait above is a good example. It’s just has the subject centred.

    Are we reading way too much into this?

  3. I’m fascinated by the golden ratio and it’s presence in the architecture and art of many cultures.

    But, laying a Fibonacci spiral on top of random photos and looking for correlation is way different to having consciously considered the golden ratio at composition stage. I don’t see it in any of these.

    It’s potentially there in the top landscape, in the meander of the river and relative height of the mountains, but the spiral is the wrong way round to prove that.

    Great photos just the same and an interesting post

  4. I agree completely with John’s comment above – although the artist’s process does not have to be conscious – can be, and I dare say usually is, intuitive.

  5. I also agree with John. I don’t see a real correlation between the spiral and the subjects on the photos. And I don’t think that one can lay a Fibonacci spiral on top of a medium-format photo, otherwise you would crop the spiral and the relation would change – wouldn’t it?