This is, as far as I know, the best Ansel Adams book published by Little, Brown and Company since the publication of "Ansel Adams at 100" in 2001. I mean the "Ansel Adams at 100" edition ( ISBN 9780821225158) with linen cloth slipcase, printed in the USA,...See more
This is, as far as I know, the best Ansel Adams book published by Little, Brown and Company since the publication of "Ansel Adams at 100" in 2001. I mean the "Ansel Adams at 100" edition ( ISBN 9780821225158) with linen cloth slipcase, printed in the USA, which I only bought last year after seeing it on Amazon fr for the unbelievable price of 38 euros (about $42). It was a factory sealed copy which included the frameable reproduction print of one of Ansel Adams photographs. I had bought, a few years ago, the paperback edition but was disappointed in its printing quality (and size of plates) so I sent it back for a full refund. "Ansel Adams in Yosemite Valley" has an excellent introductory text by Peter Galassi, who was a curator in the Department of Photography at the MoMA, which is one of the best museums in the world, if not the best, in terms of photography collection. The book was printed in Italy and has 25 color images (all of them placed with the introduction text ) and 125 tritone photographs. The plates are, in general, large and of excellent printing quality. There are about ten plates, right in the beginning, which are small and of poor quality. They are photos taken in the 1920s and I guess that the "Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust" allow those photos in this book just because of their historical value. But all other plates are of excellent or very good printing quality. Of course, they are photos reproduced in a book. You can''t expect the photos to be exactly like the original photographs unless you are a multimillionaire and could pay for what a book like that would cost. That said, most of the plates are of an astonishing beauty and high quality printing, although they could be even better, what is an extraordinary thing when I think about it and only photos such as Ansel Adam''s photographs could have different levels of high quality printing. Sadly, the printing reproduction here is not as good as in "Yosemite and High Sierra" edited by Andrea G.Stillman with an excellent introduction by John Szarkowski. That book was published in 1994 what goes to show that today, despite the better printing technology, Little Brown decided to lower the bar. If all you want is an Ansel Adams book on Yosemite than I suggest that you look for the 1994 instead of buying this book. You can still find good copies for about £30 or so. Just note that the 1994 book has 75 plates whilst this one has twice that amount. On the top of that, plates are larger on this new book. This is a new paragraph that I am adding to the review after having bought the 1994 book. Photos look better on the 1994 edition, this is a fact that can be physically measured, but please have in mind that most customers might not even notice a difference of quality. Unless you are, say, fussy like me then you will be better off with this new book. I am very happy with this book but it is not my favourite Ansel Adams book. My favourite book is "The American Wilderness" , published in 1990 and printed in the USA. (ISBN 0821217992). The book was edited by Andrea G. Stillman who, together with John Szarkowski, is the best thing you can read about Ansel Adams. That book is larger than this one and also larger than the slipcase edition of "Ansel Adams at 100". The plates are the largest ones I''ve seen on Ansel Adams'' books and also the ones that, to my eye, look better. Despite the fact that photos in "The American Wilderness" are duotone and the two other books mentioned in this review have tritone photos. My guess it that the duotone reproductions were printed from the original negatives instead of being scanned as they were in the two tritone books (Ansel Adams at 100 and Ansel Adams in Yosemite Valley). I also had "400 Photographs" and a couple of other paperback books but I sold them to ziffit because of the small size of the plates and inferior printing quality. But please don''t get me wrong. When I say inferior printing quality I am comparing those books with some of Ansel Adams'' hardcover books. The technical quality of photos in the paperback books which I sold is better, considering the original high quality of Ansel Adams'' photos, than what you will see in most books of other photographers. My collection of Ansel Adams'' books is now limited to the three hardcover titles mentioned in this review. This book here is definitely worth ordering but if you want to have just one Ansel Adams book then I suggest "The American Wilderness" which, besides the breath taking images (oh God. What a cliche!) has very insightful texts straight from the horse''s mouth. The texts were written by Ansel Adams in different occasions and years. The "American Wilderness" is out of print and, here in the UK, you will need to spend much more to buy that book than to buy this 2014 Yosemite Valley book. All that said, Ansel Adams photographs of nature are more than their fascinating and admirable high technical quality. It is fashionable today to judge photographs by their social value before anything else. Myopic intellectuals, too limited by their urban environment and lifestyle, don''t seem to be aware of this very simple truth: There will be no rich and poor, no black and white without a planet to live in. Care for the environment is one of the most important causes of modern times. Ansel Adams battled for that his whole life. He did so in his personal life and in his work. I personally think that the environment is the most important issue of today as it is a "sine qua non" condition. In this sense, I would say that Ansel Adams photographs, even without people in them, have the same social relevance of Walker Evans or Cartier Bresson''s photos, for example, with the advantage of being of far superior technical quality.