Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams : An Autobiography

4.12 (416 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this bestselling autobiography, completed shortly before his death in 1984, Ansel Adams looks back at his legendary six-decade career as a conservationist, teacher, musician, and, above all, photographer. Written with characteristic warmth, vigour, and wit, this fascinating account brings to life the infectious enthusiasms, fervent battles, and bountiful friendships of a truly American more

Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 26mm | 519.99g
  • Little, Brown & Company
  • Little, Brown and Company
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0821222414
  • 9780821222416
  • 162,185

About Ansel Adams

In a career that spanned five decades Ansel Adams was at once America's foremost landscape photographer and an ardent environmentalist. His work has been published in a multitude of books, posters and more

Review quote

No lover of Ansel Adam s' photographs can afford to miss this book. Wallace Stegner Rough-edged...witty and candid...A direct line to Adam s' thoughts and ideas. LOS ANGELES TIMES An evocative celebration of the life, career, friendships, concerns and vision of an ardent environmentalist and pioneering artist who captured the rich natural beauty of America through the lens of his camera. NEW YORK TIMES A warm, discursive, and salty document. NEW YORKERshow more

Review Text

Vigorous, humorous, and moving autobiography of a spectacular photograher, whose writing - like his pictures - is "vibrant with light of a cool translucence and a great mystery of presence." Adams completed the five-year task of writing his manuscript but had chosen pictures only for the first chapter when he died last year at 82. His autobiography proceeds as intuitively and fragmentarily as he suggests it will, with loved friends popping to mind. "It is sometimes a desolate moment when one sees old photographs and realizes that all the humanity represented is dead and forgotten. . .there is a reality in the camera remembrances that compels respectful consideration." At four, his nose was broken in the San Francisco earthquake. The family doctor advised his father it be left alone until Adams matured: "Apparently I never matured, as I have yet to see a surgeon about it." And a handsomely deformed earthquake of a beak it became! A hyperactive but sickly child, Adams was lucky to have a nurturing father, who first taught him as a child about the camera obscura, encouraged him as a classical pianist and his interest in the fine arts, took the family on trips to Yosemite, gave him Ms first Kodak Box Brownie, and bought the lad a burro when Ansel got his first job at 18 as custodian of Sierra Club's headquarters at the park. These years first brought him the magic he would know for a lifetime: ". . .to lie in a small recess of the granite matrix of the Sierra and watch the progress of dusk to night, the incredible brilliance of the stars, the waning of the glittering sky into dawn, and the following sunrise on the peaks and domes about me. And always the cool dawn wind that I believe to be the prime benediction of the Sierra. . .I knew my destiny when I first experienced Yosemite." At 15, he became a "dark room monkey" for a San Francisco neighbor who operated a photo-finishing business. As his mastery of the craft of photography develops, he has much to say about printing as well as intuitive subject-ideas, and then about creative photography: as Alfred Stieglitz tells him, "When I make a photograph, I make love!" The autobiography includes 270 black-and-white illustrations, including intimate snapshots and many monumental images never before published. His peaceful death scene, written by friend and editor Mary Street Alinder, is especially beautiful. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

416 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 41% (171)
4 35% (147)
3 19% (81)
2 3% (14)
1 1% (3)
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