By John Sexton
For those of you who own an Apple iPad, I have some exciting news...a brand new Ansel Adams app has just been released at the Apple iTunes app store.
I don't have an iPad myself (perhaps I should add one to my Christmas list!), but I was able to gift this app to a close friend and spend a little bit of time enjoying it on his iPad.
The app was published by Little, Brown and Company in collaboration with The Ansel Adams Trust. Andrea Stillman, whom I worked with at Ansel's in the late '70s and early '80s, selected the photographs, and contributed a lot of the information included in the app. Andrea has edited many books of Ansel's work and, in my opinion, is the leading expert on his work.
Ansel's images look great on the iPad display. There is a forty image slide show that includes well-known along with some lesser-known images. Each image has a brief essay by Andrea that is available by clicking on the image, or you can listen to Andrea read the text. I didn't have time to listen to all of the commentaries, but my wife Anne and I are looking forward to doing so in the near future. Naturally, you can view the images in silence, or listen to them with synchronized music...or anything you have in your iTunes library.
There is another section called "Letters and Images" that has letters between Ansel and Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Weston, Garry Trudeau, President Carter, his wife Virginia, and others.
There are some really fun postcards that Ansel sent to his close friends Nancy and Beaumont Newhall while on the road photographing. You can even send a vintage looking e-postcard with an AA image, along with your own note, from within the app...very cool!
There is a chronology of Ansel's life and career, a complete bibliography, and even web links that Ansel fans will find of interest.
The app runs only on the Apple iPad. It will not run on the iPhone. If it did, the images would be too small to be fully appreciated.
You can find the Ansel Adams app at Apple's iTunes store. The price is $13.99. It will make a great holiday gift for anyone you know who is fan of Ansel's work and owns an iPad, and of course would make an excellent gift for yourself!
Anne and I had a great time exploring this new app. It was enjoyable, and we learned a few things we didn't know about Ansel. Now I have to figure out some other reasons to justify why I need an iPad!
Republished from John's new December newsletter, with his permission of course. Funny how things sometimes seem to synchronize—yesterday I bought a print of Ansel Adams by Ted Orland, who started his career as an assistant for Ansel, and this morning I heard from John—who started his career as an assistant for Ansel.
That's been a long time ago now, of course, and John has enjoyed a distinguished career of his own. Although I would venture to say that no one has exemplified more than John the best of the Ansel Adams tradition both as an artist and a teacher.
Note also that John is having his own print offer right now—four fine prints, including the one below, available for an advantageous price (30% off) and, just as importantly, for immediate delivery: John is promising that every order placed by this Saturday, the 4th, will be mailed by December 10th so it will get to you before the holidays.
Oh, and I would be remiss if I failed to point out that his most recent book, Recollections: Three Decades of Photographs, is still available. —Mike
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Jim in Denver: "I wish there was a John Sexton app...I have always enjoyed his work more than Ansel's."
Featured Comment by Moose: "I have several books of Adams's black and white images and have seen quite a few original prints in various venues, from very large prints of the famous ones to a series of commercial shots of a college and its students quite early in his career.
"The most interesting Adams work I’ve run across in years is Ansel Adams in Color, edited by Andrea Stillman and John P. Schaefer.
"If you've ever wondered what St. Ansel would have done in color, here's the answer. I don't know what the earlier book looked like. Reviewers say this one is better printed. Nor do I know what photographic prints might look like.
"There are 62 color reproductions, covering a fairly wide range of subjects, light and mood. I really love many of them. There's also a small selection of letters at the end that show Adams's changing views of color photography.
"Reading some of his letters, I imagine looking at 8x10 Kodachromes on a light table, then at the prints possible at the time—and being incredibly frustrated. He was a master at creating his vision of the subject on paper from a negative. But he had no control over the color printing process, and the results had none of the magic qualities of the transparencies.
"The reproductions in the book are quite another thing. Created with some sort of laser scanning process from the original transparencies, they strike me as beautiful.
"I wonder what he would have thought of these reproductions. I like to imagine he would have approved.
"According to the book, Adams took over 3,500 color images, starting when Kodachrome was invented in the '30s. Kodak contracted with him to use their films as they developed them. He did other commercial work in color, as well as some photography for himself.
"At $23 from Amazon, I think this book is a steal."