Fresh look at a master of American photography
We all know the Ansel Adams of Yosemite. Here is another side of the man and his work.
The name Ansel Adams evokes rich black and white images of California's breathtaking wilderness. There's a good reason for that: Those photos are superb. But unfortunately, that's all some viewers ever see of Adams, and many remain unaware of any of the considerable body of other work that he did.
A new collection of Adams's work, Ansel Adams: In the Lane Collection(MFA Publications, $40) provides a glimpse into other, equally impressive, aspects of his work.
While some requisite photos from Adams's famous trips to Yosemite are included, the bulk of this paperback book focuses on images from Arizona, New Mexico, and urban California.
Even with different subject matter, the photographs are still obviously "Adams" in that each one has the same stunning depth, rich tones, and striking detail that are found in his Yosemite prints.
This collection also includes a number of images of people. Adams handles portraits just as skillfully as he does landscapes. His versatility as a photographer shines throughout the diversity of locations and subjects portrayed here.
The book also includes three essays on Adams's life and work, which function more effectively as biographies than as analyses of his work. The essays take up a substantial amount of the book, but the text works well with the surrounding photos by providing interesting and detailed information on Adams and the prints included in the book.
A rarely seen side of Adams is projected in this book, breathing new life into the appreciation of one of America's best-known photographers. The collection is a captivating way to revisit a great photographer who goes far beyond the images that have made him so familiar.
The book accompanies a special exhibit of Ansel Adams's work at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, on display through December 31, 2005.
• Emily Harris is an intern in the Monitor's photo department.