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Literature

For 25 years, Peter Essick traveled the globe as a National Geographic photographer, and he was recently named one of the world’s 40 most-influential nature photographers.

In 2010, Essick began “a potentially controversial” project in his native California: shooting in Ansel Adams’ Sierra Nevada—and in Adams’ signature black-and-white style.

Paying homage to a master without imitating the work is a delicate balance to strike. Essick’s results, though, are stunning. In The Ansel Adams Wilderness, he captures groves of shimmering aspen trees and alpine lakes, whose calm surfaces perfectly mirror the granite formations and pine trees above. Quotes from Emerson, Thomas Cole and others, plus Essick’s own notes, round out the book.

Essick, like Adams, conveys a deep respect for his subject matter. And he defends his use of digital technology: If Adams were working today, he says, “He would have a similar model” of the latest camera—although “his would probably be better.”

This review originally appeared in High Country News.

The Ansel Adams Wilderness

By Peter Essick; foreward by Jamie Williams

National Geographic Society

112 pages, $22.95

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