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Ansel Adams in Color Hardcover – October 21, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A new book, Ansel Adams in Color, revised and expanded from the 1993 edition, [has] laser scans that might have met even his finicky standards. Richard B. Woodward

About the Author

In a career that spanned six decades, Ansel Adams was at once America's foremost landscape photographer and one of its most ardent environmentalists. His work has been published in a multitude of books, posters, and calendars.

Andrea G. Stillman, who worked with Adams in the 1970s, has edited several books of his photographs and writings, including Letters and Images: 1916-1984, Our National Parks, and Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs. She lives in New York City.

John P. Schaefer was a student, collaborator, and close friend of Ansel Adams, and is currently the president of Research Corporation and a Trustee of The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. In 1975, as president of the University of Arizona, he helped found the Center for Creative Photography. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Revised and expanded ed edition (October 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316056413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316056410
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"I can truthfully say I can remember only two or three color photographs that are worth remembering." -- Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams long felt that color photography was not art and not consistent with his vision of his own photography. What we have in this volume are almost totally unpublished and unexhibited images from his transparencies that he chose not to publish or exhibit. In other words, these are mostly his rejects. So, this is like pawing through his working files of sketches rather than his finished work, in an unauthorized way. How does that make you feel? Hmmm.
For me, the benefit of this volume was to better understand the brilliance of how his processing of black and white images played into the success of his best work. This book contains 50 images that clearly do not have the full Ansel Adams feel and impact.
The strength of this volume is the plenitude of material on what Adams had to say about color photography in general and his own. These points are nicely characterized in the essay by James L. Enyeart. One of the key problems for Adams was that he could "see" the final black and white image he wanted to create in his mind before taking a photograph, but could not "see" the color image in advance. He was not one to take hundreds of exposures hoping to have one or two turn out to be interesting. The art of photography for him was always a deliberate one, not an accidental process. While many color photographers used Polaroid stills as tests in this way, Adams did not want to do so.
Another problem was that early color processing did not allow him the control over the final image that black and white processing did.
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Format: Hardcover
The title says it all: "Ansel Adams in Color." Who knew that America's premier black and white photographer performed his film magic in color too? I certainly didn't.

"Ansel Adams in Color" is filled with Adams' gorgeous, technicolor, photographs along with accompanying essays. While Adams was ambivalent about working in color -- primarily due to the technical limitations at the time -- today's digital advancements allow the photos to shine. These majestic photos were taken primarily in the 40's- 50's and capture America's natural landscape at its zenith. The photographs include breathtaking shots of the Grand Canyon; Yosemite National Park; Death Valley; Hawaii; Alaska, Wyoming; and much more!

"Ansel Adams in Color" would be a welcome edition to the collection of any photographer or Adams' admirer.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Rev'd edition(Oct. 21, 2009), 168 pages.
Review Copy Provided Courtesy of Hachette Book Group.
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By A Customer on April 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Late in his life, Adams' staff unearthed color transparencies and color negatives that were stored in his negative vault. With Adams' permission, the staff had a few prints made with the idea of exhibiting or publishing them. After seeing the first prints, Adams told them to kill the project. "I hate this color," he told them. "My reaction is like fingernails on a chalkboard. I can't stand it! Please stop." [Quoted in Mary Alinder's bio of Adams, pp. 382-383.]
I can guess at the motives of the people behind this book (who knew Adams, and had to have known of his opinion regarding this aspect of his own work), and they should be ashamed of themselves.
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Format: Hardcover
"Throughout his life Ansel remained ambivalent about color photography - a sampling of his reflections on the subject is included at the end of this book. Much of his antipathy toward color stemmed from the extremely poor quality of color photographing. Another source of his frustration was the inability to adequately translate the brilliance of a color transparency into a fine print."
-Foreward by John P. Schaefer and Andrea G. Stillman

I had always loved Ansel Adams' black and white photographs of nature. His photos of Yosemite had added to the pleasure of my trip to the National Park years ago. I hadn't known that Ansel Adams had worked in color, much less, that he had over 3,000 color transparencies. He had worked with color photography when the medium and technology was in its early stages. His frustration with the technical limitations explain why he is best known for his black and white work. However, with the developments in photography and computers, it is now possible to see his work as he would have been prepared to show it.

The photos in this book were selected by a photographer of Adams' generation and fellow member of the Detroit Camera Club who has expressed the debt he owed Adams for the direction and advice. Callahan is also highly regarded and has been described as one of America's greatest visual poets. He chose the photos based on his own aesthetic pleasure - "selecting those things that pleased me" without adjustments for historical reasons or concern for what the image might have looked like once.

The essays and text that accompany the stunning photographs give a fuller understanding of Ansel Adams' work and the development of the art of photography. This book is such a pleasure - whether you read it carefully or glance at the photographs.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Revised edition edition (October 21, 2009), 168 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
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