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Ansel Adams' Yosemite
The Special Edition Prints
By Ansel Adams
Foreword by Pete Souza
Formats and Prices
- Hardcover $40.00 $50.00 CAD
- ebook $26.99 $34.99 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 29, 2019. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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WILLIAM ALBERT TURNAGE
In the face of all the present turmoil and unrest and unhappiness… what can a photographer, a writer, a curator do?… To make people aware of the eternal things, to show the relationship of man to nature, to make clear the importance of our heritage, is a task that no one should consider insignificant.… These are days when eloquent statements are needed.
—Letter from Beaumont Newhall to Ansel Adams, May 3, 1954
YOSEMITE’S HALF DOME was glowing in magic light—that fifteen or twenty minutes just before the sun dips below the horizon in the evening—and I was running through a field to catch up to a descending helicopter. The photograph I wanted to make—Marine One, President Obama’s helicopter, framed right in the middle of the famous cliff—was clearly visualized in my mind. But I still had a hundred yards to sprint to be in the prime spot, and wasn’t sure my legs and lungs would get me there in time.
Ansel Adams would be chuckling at the sight, I thought. The man whose stunning black and white photographs are practically synonymous with Yosemite National Park would have been amused to see me, a seasoned White House photographer, sprinting to catch the light he knew so well.
Ansel surely would have been honored that President Obama was bringing his family to visit his park, the place he first set foot in as a teenager exactly one hundred years before our presidential trip. I think he also would have been proud that the President chose to visit national parks every year of his Presidency, culminating with this visit to Yosemite in 2016.
Ansel believed in Yosemite’s power to inspire visitors to join in protecting our nation’s public lands. His own first visit in 1916 had been nothing less than transformative; he returned every year for the rest of his life.
I took my first photography class in 1974 and became aware of Ansel’s work not long thereafter. Although my chosen field was photojournalism, the impact of Ansel’s landscape photography—especially of Yosemite—was always present in my mind. My friends and I became obsessed with his craftsmanship and precision. We studied his compositions and framing, and tried to adapt the essence of his Zone System to small-format 35mm photography. We tried to print like him, cut our white mats like his, and frame our photographs like his.
Ansel’s pictures are forever embedded in my mind, a constant, subconscious inspiration in the makeup of who I am as a photographer and how I do what I do. His prints are remarkable for their extraordinary tonal range: the blackest blacks, the whitest whites, the perfect gradations of mid-tones. In the mostly color world of photography online today, his images stand out more than ever.
Ansel’s Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico may be his most famous image, but I believe his body of work from Yosemite is his best, from his photographs of El Capitan and Half Dome to the majestic waterfalls throughout the park to the transcending light from summer to winter. I am a lucky owner of one such photograph: Moon and Half Dome hangs proudly in my living room in Madison, Wisconsin.
Ansel’s spirit was very much with us when we traveled to Yosemite in 2016. If you look back at my archived official White House Instagram account, you’ll find a picture President Obama took of me and some of my colleagues; I refer to him in the caption as “Ansel Obama.” When the President and his family hiked the Four Mile Trail, I switched my DSLR to black and white mode. But since my primary responsibility was to photograph the President, my occasional landscape and waterfall photographs were hardly Anselesque.
Nevertheless, I hope Ansel Adams would approve of me writing a few words to support this breathtaking book. I also hope this book will extend the important work he began many decades ago to inspire all citizens to take action on behalf of our environment. Ansel’s photographs originated as expressions of his deep emotional connection to nature, and became powerful tools to build support for its preservation. Viewed today, Ansel’s photographs carry as much power and meaning as ever.
I know Ansel would have enjoyed meeting my former boss and discussing their mutual enthusiasm for experiencing the national parks, and their deep desire to protect the environment for future generations. This book reminds us why we should all strive to do both.
PHOTOGRAPHIC SUBJECTS IN YOSEMITE VALLEY
ADDITIONAL SUBJECTS IN YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
IF YOU WERE to give me the pleasure of showing you Yosemite Valley for the first time, I know just how I would want to do it. I would take you by night from the San Joaquin Valley up through the forested mountains and out to the Valley’s rim, so that when sunrise came you would be standing on Glacier Point. Up before dawn, you would lean against the railing, trying to see down into the shadows for the first sight of something whose descriptions you never quite believed.
- "Iconic and still breathtaking... Adams remains extravagantly popular."—The New York Times, January 2019
- "Gorgeous... [These] vistas reveal Adams' ability to capture the wildness in nature and the book tells of his environmental activism."—Detroit Free Press
- Adams' photographs "call attention to the passage of time and changing nature of the landscape, especially in the face of global warming... Adams' photographs spread his belief in the transformative power of national parks to a wide audience. The pioneer defined the genre and kickstarted environmental activism through art."—Fortune
- On Sale
- Oct 29, 2019
- Page Count
- 160 pages
- Ansel Adams