Ansel Adams Biography

Ansel Adams, an Autobiography

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

One of the first impressions that emerges from this book is that for Adams there was no real separation between the experience of nature and the experience of art. The discovery of this seems to have first occurred to him as a young man training to be a concert pianist (his first love before photography): As he began to learn the nuances of phrasing and expression in the pieces he was playing, analogies with landscapes presented themselves with rich and lasting effect.

Musical training also provided Adams with rigorous self-discipline, which allowed him to carry the art of photography to new heights of scientific precision--a precision reflected in his creation of zone system, and in his books on the camera, negative, and print, which together constitute as thorough and accurate a study of the methods of photography as has ever been published by a photographic artist.

Rich with memories of the experiences which influenced him, Adams’ autobiography also presents his political views--particularly as they relate to the environment-- and describes the strong friendships he held with Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Nancy and Beaumont Newhall, and others. Throughout, the book is illustrated with 227 very finely reproduced photographs, 75 of which were previously unpublished by Adams. Assisting him in the creation of the book was Mary Street Alinder, his staff director and assistant during the last five years of his life. It is altogether a warm, genuine, and beautiful work.