Did you know that legendary nature photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams had to supplement his artistic career by accepting commercial assignments, including taking color photos? It’s true!
While it may be hard to imagine, much like the notion of Kurt Vonnegut running a Saab dealership after becoming a published author (which he actually did), the famed photographer, and inventor of the Zone System, couldn’t support himself from his artistic pursuits alone. In addition to his well-known work for the Department of Interior, photographing National Parks in his iconic black and white style, his commercial work included clients such as AT&T, the American Trust Company, Kodak, Fortune magazine, and Pacific Gas and Electric.
Another fun fact: As a result of his work for the U.S. government, there are over 200 Ansel Adams photos in the public domain, and available on Wikipedia. Since any image created by a U.S. government employee as part of that person’s official duties is considered public domain, that means that these photos can be freely used by anyone for any reason, anywhere from inclusion in school projects to selling coffee mugs on eBay!