Within the Stone: Nature's Abstract Rock Art

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With this book of color photographs of the polished hearts of stones portrayed as natural paintings, BILL ATKINSON completes his transition from whiz kid of Silicon Valley to high priest of Silica.

After helping to usher in the age of personal computing by designing the graphical user interface of the Macintosh computer, Atkinson turned his formidable visual and technical talents to nature photography, a passion since boyhood. While photographing the Painted Desert, Atkinson ...

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Overview

With this book of color photographs of the polished hearts of stones portrayed as natural paintings, BILL ATKINSON completes his transition from whiz kid of Silicon Valley to high priest of Silica.

After helping to usher in the age of personal computing by designing the graphical user interface of the Macintosh computer, Atkinson turned his formidable visual and technical talents to nature photography, a passion since boyhood. While photographing the Painted Desert, Atkinson became intrigued with the brilliant colors in the petrified wood littering the ground. He brought home some polished rock slabs, photographed them in natural color and without magnification, and was captivated. The photographs looked more like paintings of forgotten dreams than either rocks or photographs. Atkinson went on to borrow thousands of art-quality stones from international dealers and collectors and to refine his techniques for photographing them.

From these thousands of stones, Atkinson has picked for WITHIN THE STONE those seventy-two that have yielded the most striking, the most poetic, and the most ineffable images. To accompany these images, seventy literary pieces were commissioned for WITHIN THE STONE from seven eminent writers. Every one of the writers has conspicuous attainments in both scientific and artistic modes. Each writer was asked to free-associate with his or her ten assigned photographs as though they were Rorschach patterns on steroids. The seven contributors are Diane Ackerman (poet and psychologist), Philip Ball (Nature editor and dramatist), John Horgan (science writer and philosopher), Andrew Revkin (New York Times reporter and screenplay writer), Dorion Sagan (science writer and novelist), Tyler Volk (biologist and architect), and David Zindell (science fiction novelist and mathematician).

Bill Atkinson has likewise achieved distinction as an innovator in the disparate fields of nature photography, printmaking, computer science, and neuroscience. He came to photography from computer science, to which he in turn came from neuroscience. In 1978, he was recruited by Apple Computer out of the University of Washington, where he was developing computer atlases of the primate brain. He joined the six-person core Macintosh development team, which included Jef Raskin and Andy Hertzfeldwho will join Bill Atkinson onstage for the 20th Birthday of the Mac keynote panel at MacWorld Expo (Boston), where WITHIN THE STONE will be launched. Atkinson was responsible for designing and implementing the Mac's revolutionary mouse-based graphical user interface. He holds the copyright to the pull-down menu. Exhibitions of the photography of WITHIN THE STONE are scheduled at the George Eastman House (Rochester), the Center for Creative Photography (Tucson), the High Desert Museum (Bend), the Gemological Institute of America (Carlsbad), and the Natural History Museum (London).

In an appendix to WITHIN THE STONE, professional lapidaries Si and Ann Frazier and mineral scientist Robert Hutchinson provide a deeply informed description and commentary for each specimen.


About the Authors:

Si and Ann Frazier write regularly for The Lapidary Journal. They have been in the mineral and gem business since 1965. Si Frazier taught mineralogy at San Francisco State University. Robert Hutchinson is the author of a dozen books on geology and natural history. He has done research in mineral science at the American Museum of Natural History and in micropaleontology at Columbia University.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763181895
  • Publisher: BrownTrout Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Pages: 180
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 12.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2004

    A Landmark Photography Book

    ¿Within The Stone' is a landmark book. It treats us a brand new vision of the crust of our planet, or more exactly the rocks and minerals that constitute the bedrock of our world. A new vision, and a sublime and artistic one. At first glance it is impossible to say whether this is a book of high abstract art, or an in-depth exploration of natural history and science. In fact, it is both. A book of images, mysterious images, images without any particular scale or literal interpretation except that we know they are literally straight images of real rocks and real minerals that have been sliced to reveal an inner complexity and beauty that dusty stones tumbled on a mountainside don¿t even hint at. These are knockout, drop-dead images full of unexpected, unrestrained yet totally natural colors, images that make abstract impressionist canvases look timid, forms that never repeat and always surprise. This gorgeous book is also landmark of contemporary printing and bookmaking. The extravagant colors that Bill Atkinson has discovered ¿within the stone¿ lie well outside the gamut of what conventional printing presses can reproduce. To bring these colors to life on the printed page, Atkinson, who is one of the inventors of the modern personal computer and a respected color scientist as well as a passionate lifelong photographer, worked with the Japanese printer of this book to rethink and re-engineer the technology of offset color reproduction. Colors like these have never rolled off a printing press before. But they will now, because this book has opened new doors and set new standards for the printing of beautiful color photography, just as Chris Newbert¿s seminal volume, ¿Within a Rainbowed Sea¿ did a decade earlier. Atkinson¿s book belongs in every art-photography aficionado¿s library, and in the collection of every natural history buff. In more ways than one, it is a gem.

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