Unlike most books on photography or photographers, this focuses more on the thoughts and relationships of Adams rather than an actual narrative of his life. The result is unexpected enlightenment: the core of the man including his attitudes, politics, and relationships. The reader also finds that he is drawn to focus on his own insights on feelings, attitudes, and creative essence. It is very easy to come a point where one attains the feeling he actually knows Adams although relatively little is actually stated in straight terms about him.
Ansel Adams was a photographer. Everyone knows that. Here you learn he was also an artist, a concert pianist, and a philosopher/humanitarian. Although only the images from Chapter 1 were hand-picked by him, the book reflects a warmth that only Ansel could have put in to it.
This book gives a real insight in to Ansel Adam's character and not only discusses his creative approach to photogaphy and the arts, but also his love for music. The book has an easy to read style with 'quaint' old school americanisms; this is not a 'how too' book more of a 'why' and therefore not a book for photography geeks! In my opinion it is a book that once read can be 'dipped' into time and time again; if you are starting a collection of serious photography books this should be high on the list.
I bought the book for my partner, but was the first to start reading it. I find it interesting and especially enjoy reading the anecdotes about his working experience. Ansel Adams also devoted some chapters to his friends and people who influenced his work. I like his style of writing too. However, I expected to read more artistic descriptions and philosophy behind the pictures he mentioned. Overall, a great reading for people who admire Adams' work and want to have an idea of the man's life.
This autobiography reveals a great and generous spirit whose intellect, creativity and discernment attracted the similarly gifted of his generation in the New World. His sense of unity with the creation in all its wonder is conveyed through his lucid and direct American prose. He recognises and praises the talents of other gifted photographers and painters and is forgiving of those with whom he differed.
For many years I have admired the photographs of Ansel Adams, both from a technical and pictorial point of view. He was one of the great iconic photographers of the twentieth century, an award-winning conservationist and a highly talented pianist.
His Autobiography has vastly expanded my admiration for that great man. If you like his photographs, you should read this book.