America's most celebrated photographer on his craft. In this fine series of letters, presumably unpublished, Adams spells out his thoughts on the state of modern photography, discusses his dealings with the Polaroid Corporation, mentions the Sierra Club, Yosemite, the Museum of Modern Art, Edward Steichen, Minor White ("Minor is thoroughly dunked in mysticism, therapy and the Zen System"), Cole Weston, and other photographers.
"So many people I know have been introverting during the past ten years. They want to be 'in the stream of modern art'. They don't understand me when I say I have no interest in being in any stream; I just want to be myself. They remain perplexed; they know I am not a Normal [sic] Rockwell, but neither am I a Picasso! I'm just me!
"I find it hard to accept two aspects of modern photography—(1) the too-prevalent dwelling on the decadent (under the illusion that it is the only reality) and (2) the scorn for beauty—print-quality, for example. It is strange indeed that the one medium in which the mechanics are practically 'built-in' and in which fine craft can be achieved with less effort than in any of the arts, invites such poor rendition. I always think about a fine interpretation of Bach or Beethoven being performed on a lousy instrument and without obvious desire to obtain a better one! The sound that enters the ear is similar in truth to the print image that enters the eye ... but if the sound quality of a concert were as bad as the image quality of any one of our recent N. Y. exhibits the audience would walk out or throw eggs."
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