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Ansel Adams at 100 Paperback – Oct 29 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ansel Adams; 1 Reprint edition (Oct. 29 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082122865X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821228654
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 1.9 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #594,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Ansel Adams at 100 celebrates the centenary of one of America's best-loved photographers. This superlative catalog of an exhibition organized by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents the most dramatic and the most delicate of Adams's formal compositions, from spectacular mountainscapes to grasses on a pond, all reflecting his avowedly religious relationship to nature. Previously unpublished examples of Adams's early images show how he worked through the day, using changing light and different vantage points to interpret a subject. A fascinating comparison of his darkroom techniques is given in two printings of a 1948 negative of Mount McKinley, made in 1949 and 1978 to very different effects, one brooding and luminous, the other crisp and monumental. (The conventional wisdom is to prefer the earlier, but this reviewer loves them both.) The text by John Szarkowski, director emeritus of New York MoMA's photography department, gives biographical details and gracefully places Adams in the history of 20th-century photography and the conservation movement. Impeccable technical standards were a hallmark of Adams's work, and this book follows his tradition. Each black-and-white image is a tritone, meaning that it was printed from three different plates corresponding to different parts of the original photograph's gray scale, resulting in an extremely rich chromatic range. Light really does appear to glisten off a wet rock, and white aspens to glow. The images have been very carefully chosen, each page of a double spread complementing the other. The book's paper is custom-made, it is bound in linen and presented in a linen slipcase, and a complimentary facsimile of one of Adams's icons is included. The whole adds up to a most unusual and pleasing artifact: Ansel Adams at 100 consciously sets out to be the definitive study of a master, and it succeeds. --John Stevenson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Grandly proportioned, linen-bound and graceful as the images it conveys, Ansel Adams at 100 commemorates the birth of the famous native San Franciscan photographer with 114 of Adams's rich, beloved images spanning his oeuvre, and some delightful photos of the artist. The book and accompanying centennial exhibit at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art (Aug. 2001-Jan. 2002), curated by John Szarkowski, director of the department of photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art, reevaluate the impact of Adams's work on photography, landscapes and the audience. "His pictures have enlarged our visceral knowledge of things that we do not understand," writes Szarkowski. He relates specific epiphanies that propelled Adams's evolution as an artist, such as when he shot Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, having suddenly realized that using a specific filter would "deepen the tone of the sky almost to black" and capture his emotional experience of the vista.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is another lesson from John Szarkowski on how to write about the ineffable. However, it is a catalog of a show that is simply beyond description and contains much that is not in the book. Do not buy the book as a substitute.
As a catalog it is good preparation for the show, even for this reader who saw Eloquent Light in 1963 and has been making photographs for 40 years in same locales as Adams. You won't find any massage for Zone-Heads, little Sierra Club poster art and almost no view camera cult food at all. Instead there is one powerful illustration after another of the evolution of an artist. Szarkowski uses his erudtion to place Adams in the art history of his time and the developing culture of the West Coast of which he was a part. He opens many many subjects and leaves us to flip through the book for illustration. He always raises more questions than he answers. He is a great teacher and has made sense of the nonsense about Adams that has accumulated over the years. Anyone with a pulse should be stimulated to see the show and investigate Weston, Strand, Stieglitz and others as well.
There is one understandable omission from the book that should have been in the show. There is none of Adams' color work in either. In the book "Ansel Adams In Color" are a couple of color plates done at the same time as some of the black and white images used in current show and catalog to illustrated Adams' style. The color plates show dramatically how Adams turned a three dimensional landscape into a powerful two dimensional graphic work of art. They also show those who have not been here just how dramatically colorful it is. In a very real sense, Adams had to overcome the color to see his subjects.
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Format: Hardcover
Please consider this advice--If you plan on purchasing this book, please take the time to see it at a local library or bookstore before ordering it.
I was amazed to see a relatively poor review here at Amazon reviews while I was searching for this book. A review in a photography magazine deemed it a must-have for any library. The promise of high quality reproductions on heavy paper and rare photos not seen outside of large showings was promising. I also felt that for the price, one couldn't go wrong....after all, the more expensive, the less likely to be a bust, right?
Well, I am sad to say that the book is quite a disappointment for me, too. It is a heavy work, good stock. Many of the photos, despite the promise of being wonderfuly printed, are of low contrast, and detail that I know is there on some of the original prints which I've seen, is not present. The notes on photos indicate some are reproduced at life size, yet appear to be little more than thumbnails, lost on the huge background. Perhaps this is the haute presentation, but not satisfying for my expectation.
Some of the prints are quite good. "Moonrise" does not disappoint, but several of the Yosemite favorites are fuzzy, and as mentioned earlier, seem to be of low contrast. This, in a book celebrating the man who championed the Zone system to give life to the print, seems a bit out of whack. Perhaps the graphics designers and the technicians doing the transfers did their best, but having seen several original prints done by Adams (and having spent way too much time in front of them marvelling at the detail, shadows, and contrast) I can say that the flavor and excitement that I remember getting from just seeing an original Adams has not been transferred to me in this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Ansel Adams at 100 is the catalog for the museum exhibition of the same name that has been traveling the United States and Europe from 2001-2003. Unfortunately, the exhibit did not come to a city near me, so I cannot comment on how well it is represented in the book. Since I did not see the museum exhibit from which the photographs were taken, I will be commenting on how this book fares as a stand-alone "coffee table"-type book of Ansel Adams' photographs.
The book has 191 pages, is 14 1/4x12 3/4 inches in size, and is hardbound with an oatmeal-colored linen cover and slipcase. Also included with the book is a 13x11 inch reproduction print of Aspens, Dawn (1937), which is suitable for framing. The book begins with a 42-page essay on Ansel Adams' life and career (don't worry, big print) by John Szarkowski, the book's editor and the director emeritus of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art. The essay is followed by 114 tritone plates of Ansel Adams' photographs, all black-and-white.
I think the most helpful point that I can make about this book is that it is not a book of Ansel Adams' "greatest hits" or of his best photographs. I have yet to find a complete collection of either of those things. This is a very abridged version of the Ansel Adams at 100 museum exhibition which, as far as I can ascertain from the photographs in this book, sought to give the viewer a broad perspective of Ansel Adams' relationship with photography and with nature over the course of his life. Some of the photographs are great and some quite mediocre. But you will find photographs in this book that you have never seen before (unless, of course, you saw the exhibition).
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