Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ansel Adams in Color... A Beautiful Book just waiting for your Coffee Table!

A Beautiful Coffee Table Book

Toward the end of his life Ansel Adams wrote, "People are skeptical about my thoughts on color. I do not blame them, as I have protested it and have not shown color pictures. I feel the urge now and only wish I was sixty years younger!" Adams began to photograph in color in the mid-1930s. He did significant personal or "creative" photography in color, and his distinctive visualization of a scene and technical mastery is immediately evident in his color photographs. Overall, he made nearly 3,500 color images, but only a small fraction have ever been published. Adams thought seriously about publishing his color images but the task was not accomplished during his lifetime. The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust asked the distinguished master photographer Harry Callahan to select the best of Adams' color work for publication in this book. Accompanied by an introductory essay by Enyeart, and a selection of Adams' fascinating, often contradictory writings on color photography, these magnificent color images add a new dimension to Adams' enduring legacy.

Ansel Adams is well known for his breathtaking black & white images. But this wonderful book gives us an unexpected surprise in that it showcases his color photography. And these rare photographs are equally breathtaking. The play of light, the beautiful colors, the amazing framing of a subject are what you'll experience as you leaf through the pages of Ansel Adams In Color... I remember going to an Ansel Adams photography show at a museum in New York a few years back and being totally fascinated by the one or two color photographs on display. It was the first time I had actually seen any of them and they were beautiful... and this book is filled with them! This book is actually the newly revised and expanded edition of the book Ansel Adams in Color that was published in 1993. With new printing techniques, these photographs are reproduced closer to the originals. AND there are 20 previously unpublished color photographs that have been added to this edition!

Harry Callahan, himself an accomplished photographer, edited this collection of color photographs of Ansel Adams. He writes in the editor's note in the beginning of the book how he first met Ansel Adams and how he chose the images for the book. Even in this brief intro we are given bits of insight into the mind of the great photographer. But it is the essay by photographic historian James L. Enyeart that really bring the man behind the images to life. Adams' difficulty with the technical aspects of color photography, his process of visualization and how he thought landscape photography was an extremely difficult subject for color photography. In the back of the book there are selected writings on color photography by Ansel Adams which are also interesting... In part of a letter written to his future wife, Virginia Best, he writes,

"I got the notion to try a color plate of our garden, which is very attractive now with all the dahlias (about 300 plants) in full bloom... I got one good one , and three worthless ones. Besides I dropped the new filter and busted it. A rather expensive trial, I must say, but now that I have the "hang of it," I will do better." It's amazing to read about Ansel Adams thinking something of his was "worthless" and even funnier to read about him believing he has the "hang of it".

The bulk of this book are the full color images each reproduced on a single page with a stark white border surrounding the photograph. Even if you aren't interested in the historical aspects of the book, the gorgeous photographs can be enjoyed on their own. It's that time of year when we are trying to find that 'perfect' gift... This would make a wonderful coffee table book or a much appreciated gift to anyone who enjoys photography! Here's a LINK to an article about the book at And here is a LINK to the publisher's website to read more about Ansel Adams in Color.

Of course this book isn't Kindle Ready! BUT it is available as of this posting from Amazon at an incredible 46% off its regular price! Here's the LINK!

Thank you Anna of Hachette Book Group for a copy of this beautiful book for review! It is a feast for the eyes!


Sharon said...

I am a great fan of Ansel Adams work. I'll have to check it out since it is 46% off! thanks!

Louise said...

I am also a huge fan of Ansel Adams and recently went to an exhibition here in Denmark with his earlier black and white photos. Amazing. This looks like such a wonderful book! Thanks for posting about it.

Darlene said...

I'll have to check this out. I love Ansel Adam's work.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Sharon!
Yes, definitely check out the book to see if it's something you'd like while Amazon has the price break. I really enjoyed reading all the snippets and of course being a Ansel Adams fan I loved the photos!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Louise!
I wonder if the exhibition you went to was the same I saw here in the States?! It would be so interesting if it was! The one I went to hear was a traveling exhibition and arranged from earliest to later works and we walked around in what appeared like a maze. The end was the few color works. It very well may have been!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Dar!
Definitely a wonderful book for the Ansel fan! You would enjoy this one!

Lisa said...

This is getting picked up for my hubby for Christmas; he's a huge Adams fan!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Lisa!
If he's an Ansel Adams fan he will love it! And he won't expect it because it isn't the 'norm' for the master photographer! Enjoy!

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