Peter Hoskin

Out of the West

Ansell Adams: Landscapes of the American West, by Lauris Morgan-Griffiths

Out of the West
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Ansell Adams: Landscapes of the American West

Lauris Morgan-Griffiths

Quercus, pp. 223, £

No life of quiet desperation for Ansel Adams (1902-84). He was at his happiest tramping around the sublime countryside of the American West, with a camera and tripod strapped to his back, taking photographs of the mountains, canyons, rivers, forests and clouds he met along the way. And what photographs they are! Their warmth and fine detail are testament to Adams’ unique methods, as well as to his ability to look beyond the surface of things and offer up new visions of old subjects. Much like Walt Whitman’s poetry, they sing: this is America, it is electric.

120 of Adams’ finest works are collated in Quercus’ handsome new volume. It passes the major test for any Adams collection —  the pages are massive, giving plenty of room to his dramatic compositions. And it also includes a series of elegant annotations by Lauris Morgan-Griffiths. 

Short of going to an exhibition, there are few finer ways to see the world as Adams saw it.