Ansel Adams: Divine Performance

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Overview

"Ansel Adams' photographs of the American wilderness are recognized and admired the world over. Adams is also a major cultural figure in American history, shaping many of our current views of the natural world through his compelling and accessible images. Despite his significance, little scholarly attention has been paid to Adams's contributions as an artist or his place in photographic history. This book addresses this gap by taking the first look beyond the photographer's reputation as a Sierra Club environmentalist and examining in depth his life as an artist and the complexities of his creative vision." Photo historian Anne Hammond provides a nuanced discussion of the evolution of Adams's landscape art and the aesthetic significance of his work. To set his landscape photographs in historical and philosophical context, Hammond traces the development of Adams's prints in relation to his artistic consciousness. She also offers insightful background on the contributions of scientific, literary, and artistic individuals who inspired Adams's journey in the arts, including scientists and philosophers Joseph LeConte and Alfred North Whitehead, writers Edward Carpenter and Ella Young, and photographers Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, and Minor White. The concluding chapter of the book provides a detailed criticism of the photographer's best work and shows the relation between these images and their maker's ethical and artistic commitments. Admirers of Adams's photography as well as enthusiasts for the history of American photography and landscape studies will find this an essential volume for their libraries.
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Editorial Reviews

James Enyeart
Anne Hammond’s carefully documented book is the first major study of Adams’s life and art since his own Autobiography. She provides a rich new way of looking at Adams as a person and as an artist.
Sandra S. Phillips
Hammond examines the complexities of Adams’s philosophical heritage,indeed,even its contradictions. Her understanding of Adams as both thinker and artist,her sensitivity to him as a creative person who was not necessarily clear or consistent in his thinking,makes this book an original and important piece of scholarship.
Library Journal
As a photographer, artist, and especially gifted contributor to our perception of the American landscape, Ansel Adams seems to be the subject of continual discovery. In this quiet and thoughtful work, photo historian and researcher Hammond (Frederick Evans) gives us still more on Adams's life, aesthetics, methodology, and evolution as an artist. Her book refuses to engage in the fits of impassioned academic overanalysis that usually weigh down critical books about genius; instead, Hammond keeps Adams's biography and her criticism of the images on track. While readers may question the need for yet another book on Adams, Hammond offers a careful portrayal of the photographer and the life that he lived along with his art, placing his work in the contexts of time, place, and influence. This volume makes a solid contribution on several levels, not the least of which is its articulating some very essential notions on the structure of thought and visual objectives within the basics of photography. In the case of Ansel Adams, this structure gave us exceptional, even reassuring art that has made its way into the subconscious of millions of viewers. Recommended for most collections. David Bryant, New Canaan Lib., CT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300092417
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 8.24 (w) x 10.28 (h) x 0.77 (d)

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