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Thread: Review of new Ansel Adams book!

  1. #1

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    Review of new Ansel Adams book!

    I haven't logged in for a long time but I just posted to my blog a review of the new Ansel Adams book, "Making a Photographer: The Early Work of Ansel Adams." It's written by Rebecca Senf, the Chief Curator at the Center for Creative Photography.

    I posted this notice on DPReview (sort of rolling my eyes as I did), then remembered that people here would be interested in Ansel!

    O.K., I confess. I was looking at 4x5s on E-bay last night.....I'm back in control of myself now, whew!

    It's long review but I hope you like it.

    ------------------------
    Here's what I posted:

    My review has all the details at: https://www.abiggercamera.com/2020/1...pher-part-one/

    I thought I'd write a few paragraphs but it just grew and grew--had to split it into two parts!

    Basically, the book dives into the archives and goes over, in detail, Ansel's first portfolio. This isn't Portfolio One, as you might be forgiven for thinking, but something called "Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras" (sic). "Parmelian" is a made-up word--in 1927 using the word "photography" would have made the portfolio seem cheap. You may have heard of it before but here it is, every image and more.

    Then the same detailed treatment is given a photo album Ansel made for a 1928 Sierra club trip. Every image, lots of discussion. He's trying to figure out how to sell his work, to dedicate himself full-time to photography. Probably some valuable life lessons in the book for current photographers!

    The book also goes into his employment with the Curry Company in Yosmite and lots more.

    First scholarly book on Ansel in a long time. If you want meat and not just pretty pictures (although those are here, too) check it out the review. It's about $35 on Amazon. It's a nice hardback. (I'm not an Amazon affiliate and there's no link to Amazon in the review--just go directly--thanks.)

    Anyway, didn't plan on writing such a lengthy review but thought maybe some people here would enjoy it. If you do like it please repost wherever people might be interested in Ansel Adams.

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Review of new Ansel Adams book!

    But those big cameras weren’t what they are now, the tools of rarified artisans, toiling away in their chemical darkrooms, laboring like monks preserving the light in a darkening world.
    A monk -- dang, so that's why I'm not getting laid...

    Thanks for the review -- might eventually get a copy.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    Re: Review of new Ansel Adams book!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    A monk -- dang, so that's why I'm not getting laid...
    Yep, glad I could help.

    The book is good. If you haven't seen Parmelian Prints or the Sierra Club album before that alone is probably worth the $35.

    --Darin

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    Re: Review of new Ansel Adams book!

    Darin, that's a really informative write up, with respect to both Adams and the book - thanks for sharing.

    There's a set of the Parmelian Prints in the "Ansel Adams in Our Time" show that's currently traveling - or at least there was in the initial showing at the Boston MFA, and as it's such a central piece I imagine it will be carried along.

    Interestingly, the author was also co-curator of the mega-show of Adams' work that the MFA put on at the time of the donation of the Lane collection. So she's been immersed in his work for a very long time.

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    Re: Review of new Ansel Adams book!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    Darin, that's a really informative write up, with respect to both Adams and the book - thanks for sharing.

    There's a set of the Parmelian Prints in the "Ansel Adams in Our Time" show that's currently traveling - or at least there was in the initial showing at the Boston MFA, and as it's such a central piece I imagine it will be carried along.
    Would love to see them in person now that I've read the book. That show comes to Portland next year--still quite a ways from here. C'mon vaccine...

    --Darin

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    Re: Review of new Ansel Adams book!

    Quote Originally Posted by Darin Boville View Post
    Yep, glad I could help.

    The book is good. If you haven't seen Parmelian Prints or the Sierra Club album before that alone is probably worth the $35.

    --Darin
    Seen the real things several times up close and personal. One of the advantages of having work and giving workshops at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    Re: Review of new Ansel Adams book!

    Quote Originally Posted by Darin Boville View Post
    Would love to see them in person now that I've read the book. That show comes to Portland next year--still quite a ways from here. C'mon vaccine...
    I hope you'll get the chance. I liked them a lot - much more than his later, more theatrical enlargements.

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    Re: Review of new Ansel Adams book!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    I hope you'll get the chance. I liked them a lot - much more than his later, more theatrical enlargements.
    To which I add -- one can always go the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite and ask to see the Parmelian Prints they have on hand. Depending on the day, might be no problem. It will depend on staffing at the time.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    http://www.spiritsofsilver.com tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Review of new Ansel Adams book!

    Although I am an Ansel Adams fan, I prefer my interpretation of El Captain which I photographed and printed as a Kallitype in 2016. Watkins, Muybridge, and Adams interpretations are essentially similar.

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    Re: Review of new Ansel Adams book!

    Quote Originally Posted by Darin Boville View Post
    "Parmelian" is a made-up word--in 1927 using the word "photography" would have made the portfolio seem cheap.
    Well, at least it worked out better than "Giclée"...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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