Well, I'll be darned. They say you learn something new every day, but I guess that goes for unlearning, too. Did you know Ansel Adams didn't use the term "previsualization" in his writings? A reader named Steve Smith pointed it out in the Comments. I checked—even in his earlier Photo Series books, published by Morgan & Morgan, Adams uses "visualize" consistently. The bastardization "previsualize" never [never say never—see Evan's "Featured Comment" below] shows up.
I didn't find the suspect term in Weston, either, at least not in the Index to the Daybooks.
Where the term does appear—all over the place, in the subhead and in no fewer than four of 10 chapter headings—is in Minor White's Zone System Manual: How to Previsualize Your Pictures (Morgan & Morgan, 1968).
So it's White who is the culprit in morphing visualize into the redundant previsualize, not Adams (here they are, although I can't publish that).
Thanks to Steve—I think he's saved me from losing a bet some day.
P.S. By the way, I should add that I'm comfortable with either term. "Previsualize" is vaguely idiotic—like "pre-plan," as Bill points out below—but it's so well ensconced in photographic literature and discourse that it's almost incorrect not to use it. Besides, photography is so rife with vaguely idiotic terms that this one doesn't even make the top ten.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Evan: "If you happen to have the 1963 edition of Polaroid Land Photography Manual: a technical handbook" by Adams, on page 61 you should find the sentence, 'It will be apparent that the process of previsualization of the image will assure a higher return of good results.'
"This book was later revised and published in 1978 as Polaroid Land Photography and had a 'Previsualization Exercise' for students and the sentences 'Polaroid Land film provides the most direct method known to photography to learn to previsualize in tone-values [zones] of gray, black, and white. Previsualization is not necessarily easy under any circumstances, so we welcome whatever boost [the] Land process provides.' "
Mike replies: Hmm, the plot thickens. Thanks for the counterexamples. He uses "visualize" in the important books in the series...and of course it's always possible that Adams used the "pre-" term more frequently when speaking than when writing. I had hoped to be able to blame it entirely on White, but I guess that's out. UPDATE: A private correspondent has informed me that Adams did not actually write much of Polaroid Land Photography. Adams was a paid consultant to Polaroid, and added the Polaroid book to his Basic Photo Series at the behest of Edwin Land and others at Polaroid; but many different people had a hand in the actual writing the book.
Featured Comment by Bill Bresler: "Kind of like pre-planning?"
Featured [partial] Comment by Doug Nelson: " 'Pre-vis' is actually a job description in Hollywood...if the end result is a visualization, you need a term that is one step removed to differentiate."
Mike replies: It also seems to be sometimes spelled "previz" in the movie industry, at least if online usage is any indication.
Bottom line overall: my memory was that Adams regularly used the term "previsualization" and I was surprised to learn I was wrong about that.
And hey, we got a lot of nits picked here! It's unimportant work, but somebody's got to do it. :-)
Featured Comment by Jay Frew: "A v-e-r-y l-o-n-g discussion about 'previsualization.' I didn't see that one coming! Cheers!