A profession is a vehicle for the social realization of the creative spirit. Whether the profession be an art, science, or craft, this definition holds. Photography is all of these—science, craft, and art. Photography, now accepted as an art, could be a noble profession.
I spend most of my time looking at the subject. Occasionally I discover just before I am ready to take a photograph that a slight movement of my tripod will result in an entirely different and more compelling photograph. Most of all, I want to get to the core of a subject and reveal what I have found after study and reflection and to this end have selected subjects to which I can return, after studying prints, and photograph again under different lighting conditions, from new angles, and with different exposures.
We all know how the clear vision of essential matters may elude us in the maze of thought. To penetrate the heart of things, slashing through the welter of facts, the divergence of opinions—indeed, the complexities of our entire cultural and individual conditioning—is not lightly accomplished.
Ordinarily, I don't write letters to reviewers. If a man agrees with me—fine. If not—I think nothing I could say in a letter would make him change his point of view. However, since you deemed my book ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY important enough to justify a two-page review, and specifically asked for my reaction, I trust you will also grant me, in a forthcoming issue of aperture the space necessary to print my reply.
ANSEL ADAMS is strong exponent of "straight" photography, the "inventor" of the Zone System of exposure/ development controls, and he started the photography department in the California School of Fine Arts. He is a man who believes that a musician can play all the right notes with spirit and magic—but if the piano is out of tune———?