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Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail Hardcover – October 25, 2006
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About the Author
William A. Turnage is managing trustee of The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. From 1978 to 1985, Turnage served as president of The Wilderness Society. He worked closely with Ansel Adams as a business manager and environmental associate for many years.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ansel's printing style changed over the course of his life. For instance, the Monolith (face of Half Dome) print included with the Parmelian Prints looks completely different than the much more familiar and frequently reproduced prints from this negative made in the 1970s. Several other examples can be found of this change in printing style. Most books currently on the market and prints that are frequently shown focus on the dramatic Wagnerian style of printing Ansel adopted in his later years. Modern Ansel Adams publications which seem to include several new books every year focus on already well known images as Ansel printed them in the final decades of his life. This book is refreshing in that focuses on Ansel's early images and printing style. The book is also focused on the John Muir trail rather than being a "greatest hits" collection.
Printing technology has also changed and improved a lot since the original version of the book was published in 1938, and his improved significantly even since 1984 when Ansel died. Of course not every book is printed with the best technology of an era.Read more ›
I never saw a copy of the origional edition and my comment is purely on what I see in this 2006 standard edition. I don't know how this book is made from the original edition. It says tri-tone but the printing quality is so-so. Some images are a little vague, some losing details in shadow or highlight. The book is pale in compasrison with some great AA books published by Bulfinch in the past, such as "California" or "Yosemite and the High Sierra". You can find some images from this book in other AA books and in better quality. Overall, it would make AA uneasy to stamp his famous AA Authorized Edition to the book. If it were not for its historical value, I'd skip this book.
Now Bulfinch also offers a 2006 deluxe edition at $1,200. Again I haven't seen a copy but perhaps the pricier version can live up to the standard of the original edition.
The trend looks a little worrisome recently in AA books pulished by Bulfinch. The printing quality goes down from "California (1997)" to "Ansel Adams at 100 (hardcover 2001)". "Trees (2004)" rebounds just a little but "Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail (2006)" is a little disappointing. I would hope the next AA book by Bulfinch can rejuvenate the printing quality, even if doing so means a higher price tag.
I also know from talking to many climbers that the John Muir Trail is a special treat. I wanted to see it from Ansel Adams' perspective. And that was quite rewarding and revealing.
Due to the limitations of printing when the original came out, it was impractical to include more than 50 images. Adams' choices of what to include are as interesting as the John Muir Trail.
I have to add a big caveat before you consider buying the book: The photographic reproductions aren't nearly as good as you've seen elsewhere. I don't know why (it may even have been intentional), but it's hard to imagine that Ansel Adams who liked to use detail to bring out an emotional reaction suddenly created one book where the potential emotional impact seems downplayed.
My suggestion is that you look at this in a book store or a library . . . but don't buy a copy. You'll be unhappy with the images. It would be better to remember Ansel Adams through printed versions that he approved of personally.
This remarkable book is an exception, and William Turnage has taken a brave stand in revisiting Adams' earlier work and printing methods. Yes, some of these photographs were later printed and published with a more contrasty appearance, but they were not thereby improved. This is the work of an artist coming to maturity, confident, meditative and above all about the Sierra Nevada, not about the photographer. Adams was an accomplished musician and often drew upon musical analogies when talking about photography, memorably describing the negative as the score and the print as the performance. To push the analogy a little further, this is not the Wagnerian Adams we are are used to seeing; these are his string quartets. Adams worked at the same high standard for the rest of his long career, but as a suite of photographs Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail was never surpassed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well Ansel Adams was just marvellous, wasn't he. I believe anyone who is interested in the history of American photography, should have this great book.Published 10 days ago by david crothers
This book is not bad because how can anything of Ansel Adams' nature work be bad - but I've seen many better prints in other books. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joan
I just expected more from an Ansel Adams photography book. The images are mostly dull, lacking in contrast, and the image print quality is about as poor as a newspaper. Read morePublished on November 18, 2013 by Brian