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Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada

Photographs by Ansel Adams, Text by John Muir

Edited by Charlotte E. Mauk


( from the book's dust jacket )

Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada
Photographs by Ansel Adams, Text by John Muir
Edited by Charlotte E. Mauk
Dedicated to The Sierra Club
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948; 132 pp., 64 photographic plates)
Excerpts from the writings of John Muir with photographic illustration of the Muir text by Ansel Adams; includes a Preface and A Biography of John Muir by Charlotte Mauk; and an Introduction and Photographic Data and Notes by Ansel Adams.)


This book is an interpretation, in text and photographs, of Yosemite Valley and the Sierra Nevada range of mountains. the text is from the works of John Muir, a naturalist whose writing reveals the excitement and beauty and strength in a world untouched by man. the photographs were created by Ansel Adams, whose camera discovers that which lies before us all - and magically, what our eyes may fail to communicate to our hearts. this combination of word and image creates a statement of grater intensity than either word or image alone.

Sixty-four photographs are beautifully reproduced in this big book. Mr. Adams has chosen phrases from Muir which, facing the photographs, are perfect captions. These photographs are the work of several years, and almost all are here reproduced for the first time.

the text has been taken from Mountains of California, The Yosemite, My First Summer in the Sierra, and others of Muir's best-known book. the selections have been wove into a unified description of the country, in all seasons and in all mods, by Miss Charlotte Mauk of Berkeley, California.

the lines which delimit Yosemite on a map have no meaning on the high watershed ridges which are the geographic boundaries of the Park. In actuality, the spirit of Yosemite depends on an environment which extends to the Pacific and to the clear bleak loneliness of the deserts beyond the Sierra crest. Begin with the rolling hills of the Coast Range and the wide expanse of the Central Valley. Climb, as Muir did when he was shepherding his flocks, the rugged foothills of the Sierra. See Yosemite in its high-mountain matrix; cross the Sierra to the wild and barren beauty of Mono; look at Tahoe on the north, the great ranges south of Yosemite, and the tremendous tossing wall of the east face of the Sierra. Behold mountains and quiet pools, twigs, clouds, canyons, stones - great vistas and intimate realities.


Ansel Adams, the eminent Western photographer, began his professional life as a musician, and for several years studied and taught piano in San Francisco. He soon discovered that photography was an essential adjunct to his twin interests of conservation and mountaineering, and finally adopted the art as his chosen from of expression. His work attracted the attention of Albert Beneder, the late and beloved patron of arts in San Francisco, whose encouragement led to Adams's first published work in 1927 - The High Sierras, a collection of original prints in portfolio form.

Nine years later Ansel Adams has so grown in stature that he was given a one-man show in Alfred Stieglitz's gallery, An American Place. Since then he has exhibited in the principal cities of the United States, and in London, Paris, Sydney, and Dublin. His work is distinguished by extreme clarity of delineation, and is entirely "straight" photography. He employs no controls or manipulation which are not inherent in the application of the medium in its simplest form. His specialty is the natural scene which he photographs in terms of the commonplace minutiae of trailside and mountainside, the pageant of the skies, and the inner subtleties of light and substance.

A California native son, Adams divides his time between San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. He now holds a Guggenheim Fellowship, his project being expressive photographs of National Parks and Monuments in the United States.


To learn more about Ansel Adams:

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