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Thread: Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

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  1. #1

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    Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

    I just finished this book, © 1996, and recommend it to anyone who has not. Alinder became Adams's chief assistant and close friend for a number of his last years, up through his passing. Intimate with both his family and business affairs, she offers a view of the great photographer's life little known generally, an appreciative, fair, and thoughtful treatment of the strengths and weakness of this exceptional artist and his outstanding influence in 20th-Century photography as well as his energetic environmental activism. As fully researched and footnoted as a doctoral thesis, it's beautifully composed; even when it may momentarily appear to be skipping a beat, there is a reason, one later discovers.

    Alinder was the prime force behind Adams's autobiography as well as the subsequent Letters and Images. She read his entire correspondence and reviewed the entirety of his 40,000 proofs, most never printed. She and her husband, also a former Adams assistant, now run the Alinder Gallery in California.
    Philip Ulanowsky

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    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

    I also enjoyed her follow up, Group f.64, 2014. She gives a different and interesting perspective of the Adams-Mortensen debates. Nicely footnoted and indexed, also.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    Re: Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    I also enjoyed her follow up, Group f.64, 2014. She gives a different and interesting perspective of the Adams-Mortensen debates. Nicely footnoted and indexed, also.
    I also enjoyed Mary's book on Group f.64. I knew four members from the original group, Henry Swift among them, and several of the associates. From hearing their stories, Mary's account is factual, and a stellar contribution to the history of Group f.64.

    As an aside, Mary notes that a good friend of Henry Swift's widow suggested that Henry's collection of prints from the Group be gifted to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. That was accomplished a few years after Henry's death, with additional prints contributed by some of the members. The good friend was my father, who was mentored by Henry in the mid-1930's.

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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

    There must be a dozen or more biographies and autobiographies of Ansel Adams by now. I'm waiting for some Ansel Adams fan-fiction...

    Death in the Darkroom, Chapter 1

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    Re: Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    There must be a dozen or more biographies and autobiographies of Ansel Adams by now. I'm waiting for some Ansel Adams fan-fiction...

    Death in the Darkroom, Chapter 1

    It was a dark and stormy night in Yosemite, the kind of dark that falls between zone 0 and zone 1...
    I love it!
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
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  6. #6
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    Re: Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

    Alinder also said more about Virginia and her role in his life (and his role in hers). I haven’t re-read it in years, but thought it the most three-dimensional treatment.

    And now I have to hunt up her book on f/64. Thanks, Vaughn.

    Rick “behind on reading, as well as everything else” Denney

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

    I've read it. She had somewhat of an inside track, so, second to his official autobiography itself, which she was also involved with, it's a good choice.

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

    Dark creepy nights in Yosemite ... Nope, not that one. It was already authored by Kerie Stayner. Don't need any repeats of that one. That was definitely one mind sunk down in Zone 0. The real Bates Motel.

  9. #9
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

    Andrea Stillman wrote another good biography from an insider's view: Looking at Ansel Adams (2012). If only the late Patsy English also left a biography of Adams!

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    Re: Recommending Mary Alinder's Ansel biography

    James R Swenson's "In a Rugged Land" provides some insights of Ansel thru his collaboration with Dorathea Lange. A good read.
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