The Reading List: Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams
Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984), recognized as one of the great artists and environmentalists of the twentieth century, has a remarkable career spanning more than sixty years, making over 40,000 photographs. As well as being a master photographer, Adams was also a master teacher. From 1955 until 1984 he conducted annual photography workshops, first in Yosemite and later in Carmel. His most important and lasting contribution to the world of black-and-white photography was through his technical series (revised several times since the initial publication in the early 1950s): The Camera, The Negative, and The Print, a legendary triad of books about photographic technique that has become the most influential how-to series on photography ever written.

Adams's black-and-white photographs of the West became the foremost record of what many of the National Parks were like before tourism, which also helped expand the National Park system. He used his works to promote many of the goals of the Sierra Club and the growing environmental movement. Adam has always insisted that, as far as his photographs were concerned, 'beauty comes first'. His images are still very popular today in calendars, posters, and books.

Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs
Ansel Adams:
400 Photographs
Hardcover – October 29, 2007
by Ansel Adams (Author), Andrea G. Stillman (Editor)
ISBN-10: 0316117722
ISBN-13: 978-0316117722

For those who may not know of Ansel Adams, or who have only heard his name with relation to photography, he was the most honored American photographer of the twentieth century. Once destined to become a concert pianist he instead chose photography. Over the course of the next 50 plus years, he defined the art of photography.

400 Photographs constitutes a study in that life. The book is 440 pages long and contains 400 of Adams' finest photographs. The photographs are arranged chronologically into five major periods, from his first photographs made in Yosemite and the High Sierra in 1916 to his work in the National Parks in the 1940s up to his last important photographs from the 1960s. It is edited by Andrea Stillman, a close associate, and editor of seven of Adams' books. Contents include an introduction and brief essays on selected images provide information aboutAdams' life, document the evolution of his technique, and give voice to his artistic vision.

Ansel Adams in the National Parks: Photographs from America's Wild Places
Ansel Adams in the National Parks:
Photographs from America's Wild Places
Hardcover – October 18, 2010
by Ansel Adams  (Author), Andrea G. Stillman (Editor)
ISBN-10: 0316078468
ISBN-13: 978-0316078467

With more than two hundred photographs - many rarely seen and some never before published - this is the most comprehensive collection of Ansel Adams' photographs of America's national parks and wilderness areas. For many people, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and other iconic American wildlands exist in the mind's eye as Ansel Adams photographs. The legendary photographer explored more than forty national parks in his lifetime, producing some of the most indelible images of the natural world ever made. One of the twentieth century's most ardent champions of the park and wilderness systems, Adams also helped preserve additional natural areas and protect existing ones through his photographs, essays, and letter-writing campaigns.

Edited and with commentary by Andrea G. Stillman, the foremost expert on Adams' work, this landmark publication includes quotations by Adams on the making of numerous photographs and essays by Wallace Stegner, William A. Turnage of The Ansel Adams Trust, and journalist and critic Richard B. Woodward. This is a must-own for Ansel Adams fans and all those who, like Adams, treasure America's wilderness.

Ansel Adams: The Camera
Ansel Adams:
The Camera (The Ansel Adams Photography Series 1)
Paperback – June 1, 1995
by Ansel Adams  (Photographer), Robert Baker (Contributor)
ISBN-10: 0821221841
ISBN-13: 978-0821221846

The first edition of this series was completed in the 1950s. Adams completely revised and updated it just a few years before his death, making it his last word on the technical mastery of his medium. Three generations of photographers have learned how to approach the artistic possibilities of their art form through this seminal series.

The Camera covers 35 mm, medium format, and large-format view cameras and offers detailed advice on camera components such as lenses, shutters, and light meters. Adams' concepts of 'visualization' and 'image management' are the philosophical cornerstones of the book. Extensively illustrated with photographs by Adams as well as instructive line drawings, this classic manual belongs on every serious photographer's bookshelf. It remains today as vital as when it was first published.

Ansel Adams: The Negative
Ansel Adams:
The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 2)
Paperback – June 1, 1995
by Ansel Adams  (Author), Robert Baker (Contributor)
ISBN-10: 0821221868
ISBN-13: 978-0821221860

The early chapters are devoted to a discussion of light, film, and exposure. What follows is a detailed discussion of the zone system, chapters on natural and artificial light and at the end is an extensive chapter on the darkroom and its equipment.

Anchored by a detailed discussion of Adams' Zone System and his seminal concept of visualization, The Negative covers artificial and natural light, film and exposure, and darkroom equipment and techniques. Numerous examples of Adams' work clarify the principles discussed. Beautifully illustrated with photographs by Adams as well as instructive line drawings, this classic manual can dramatically improve your photography.

Ansel Adams: The Print
Ansel Adams:
The Print (Ansel Adams Photography, Book 3)
Paperback – June 1, 1995
by Ansel Adams  (Author), Robert Baker (Contributor)
ISBN-10: 0821221876
ISBN-13: 978-0821221877

The Print shows how the making of a fine print is the culmination of the creative process, in a clear and concise technical information that starts with the basics and proceeds to the most advanced methods for achieving a fine print.

This text also includes sections on the finishing and display of prints, processing for archival quality, and sensitometry. A chapter on special applications covers high-volume printing, the making of very large prints, and printing for reproduction. Appendices give information on chemical formulas and test data. Amply illustrated with many of Ansel Adams' most famous photographs, as well as with technical illustrations.

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