Category: Ansel Adams
Creative baby names can be more than names you invent: The category can include names from literature, the arts, and even photography. You could consider a related word name–the late tennis champion Arthur Ashe and his photographer wife named their daughter Camera– and we’ve also heard of at least one little girl called Leica, after the iconic brand.
Much better though to turn to the names of the greats in the field for artistic inspiration. Here are the Nameberry Picks of the 12 Best –meaning of course the most creative baby names.
Andreas Feininger, Gursky
Ansel is very much associated with this great photographer of the American West, and could serve as a tribute to him in the middle spot. The name Ansel is related to the German Anselm, which happens to be the name of another artist, Anselm Kiefer.
August has been heating up in Hollywood–used by Mariska Hargitay, Lena Olin and Jeanne Tripplehorn, (and by Garth Brooks for his daughter), and is rapidly becoming the preferred month name for boys. August has two august literary namesakes: playwrights August Strindberg and August Wilson.
One of the romantic vintage names now on the cusp of a revival, Dorothea means ‘gift of God’ (it’s the reverse of Theodora), and its literary heritage includes Dorothea Brooke, the heroine of the George Eliot novel Middlemarch.
This is a name with four legitimate spellings—depending on how many consonants you want to use. One of the increasingly popular E-boy names, its namesakes include such variously spelled Elliotts as Roosevelt, Ness, Gould, and Spitzer
Adam has faded, but sweet, simple Eve (forget the one in All About Eve) is being appreciated anew these days. It’s biblical but without a heavy religious feel, short but strong, has musical cred via singer Eve, and it’s even a palindrome. Actor Clive Owen chose it for his daughter.
Felix, which means happy and fortunate, would make a felicitous choice, now that it’s thrown off the old negative associations with Felix the Cat and the overly fastidious half of The Odd Couple, Felix Unger. The name of four popes and 67 saints, it’s currently a Top 10 choice in Europe.
My family and I love nothing more than to visit as many National Parks as we can. We’ve been to twenty-six of them, from Acadia in Maine to the Everglades in Florida to Haleakala and Hawaiian Volcanoes. It’s amazing that we didn’t name our children after one–we were only thinking of classic names then (we did name our son Peter, which comes from the Greek Petros, meaning stone, as in Yellowstone)–because they are such a treasure trove of possibilities. Not only the parks themselves but the waterfalls, mountains and beaches within them have distinctive names. The passion I feel for National Parks is captured so perfectly by the artful names given to these places. Who, for example, can say Shenandoah without crossing into the past, into less complicated times?
So here is a list of National Park-related names:
ALBERTA (falls–Rocky Mountain)
ANSEL (park photographer Ansel Adams)
ARCHER, ARCHIE (Arches)
ASH (mountain–Sequoia and Kings Canyon)
CARMEN (mountain range–Big Bend)
CRUZ (bay–Virgin Islands)
ELENA (canyon–Big Bend)
ELIAS (Wrangell-St. Elias)
EMERALD (ridge–Mt. Rainier)
ISIS (temple–Grand Canyon)
JASPER (forest–Petrified Forest)
JOSHUA (Joshua Tree)
JUNIPER (canyon–Big Bend)
KENAI (Kenai Fjords)
KING (Kings Canyon)
KOBUK (Kobuk Valley)
LASSEN (Lassen Volcanic)
MESA (Mesa Verde)
MUIR (naturalist John Muir who helped save Yosemite)
QUINCY (mountain–Gates of the Arctic)
ROYALE (Isle Royale)
SHASTA (mountain near Lassen Volcanic)
SMOKY (Great Smoky Mountains)
VERDE (Mesa Verde)
TIRZAH (peak–Mt. Rainier)
SUSAN CHESNEY, a graduate of Art Center College of Design, was the president of a graphics company for twelve years. She lives near Pasadena, California with her husband Kent, daughter Laura (son Peter lives nearby), dog Roxanne Louise and cat Moses Malone.