Thursday, January 03, 2008

Review: Examples: The Making Of 40 Photographs

I'm making my way through Ansel Adams' Examples: The Making Of 40 Photographs. This book is pretty much what the title suggests: it surveys 40 of Mr. Adams' photographs, to which he adds commentary. While the text is part historical record and part conversation about the art and the craft of making pictures, more than anything else, it's an adventure story.

Ansel Adams brings you back to a time when photography wasn't nearly as standardized as it is today, and when the equipment was a whole lot cruder. Like when he might go out for a day of shooting with only 12 negatives, and no light meter. And then he would get back to the lab and have to choose just the right chemistry to develop his film. It's a wonderful, and surprisingly exciting, glimpse into the roots of photography.

Adams has a pithy style of writing which I have been enjoying. Clearly, each photograph in the text was chosen to teach a lesson, yet he doesn't come off as preachy.

If you have any interest at all in photography, I think you'd enjoy this book. If nothing else, it will give you a fresh appreciation of the practice of making images. I give the part that I've read of this book an 8.9/10 for being just delightful.

--Ben

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