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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Book Review: Examples by Ansel Adams

Since I'm reading through it for the second time, I figured I would write a little review about "Examples: The making of 40 photographs" by Ansel Adams. (Amazon). Ansel Adams is probably the most well-known American photographer, and is most famous for his stunning black and white images of Yosemite (and black and white landscapes in general). If you aren't aware of his work, I highly recommend checking him out (wikipedia, Ansel Adams gallery).

The reason that I love "Examples" so much is that it's almost like having a conversation with Adams while flipping through his portfolio. Each photo is printed and then followed by 2-3 pages of discussion by Adams about the image. He includes as much as the technical information as he can remember (camera, lens, filter, film, exposure, etc), but also goes beyond the "how" into the "why" - why he was motivated to take this image, what the circumstances surrounding it were, how his feelings about the image have changed over time. He also randomly includes his thoughts about the art and craft of photography (at one point he even mentions how he is excited for the development of digital image capture). While the technical information is interesting to me, it's these little nuggets that really make the book a must-read.

Best of all, it's not that expensive to buy (currently $26.39 on Amazon). It would cost you more to buy postcards of the 40 photos in the book. If nothing else, this would be a good one to add to your holiday wishlist.


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