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The Negative

(Ansel Adams Photography #2)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,456 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Ansel Adams (1902-1984) produced some of this century's truly memorable photographic images and helped nurture the art of photgraphy through his creative innovations and peerless technical mastery. This handbook - the second volume in Adams' celebrated series of books on photographic techniques - has taught a generation of photographers how to use film and the film ...more
Paperback, 265 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 1948)
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  1,456 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Aug 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
I wouldn't be able to say "i've finished reading this book'. This series: "the Camera", "the Negative", and "the Print" is a Bible for darkroom printer, so I go back and forth to this book.
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Adams was renowned for the exquisite quality of his prints, and it's easy to see why he achieved such magnificent results from this series of books; he was a consummate perfectionist who spent a lifetime honing his craft.

Some of the principles in this book apply exclusively or mainly to black and white film photography, some are more widely applicable. Adams' presentation is extremely clear and easy to understand, his style is unaffected yet engaging, and his choice of images to illustrate each
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: photography enthusiast
Shelves: photography
Of the three Ansel Adams books, I find this one to be the most helpful. I was suprised at this because the technology of photography has changed so much since it was introduced.

Most of the book does not (unlike the first book) focus on the mechanics of the actual negative, but it relies on how light interacts with it. So it goes over the zone system - every photographers joy and bane - and then natrual and artifical lighting situations. For all practicallity, this will be the most helpful of the
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Negative is the second book in Ansel Adams’s 1981 three-book series about the fundamentals of photography. I’ve already reviewed the first book in the series, The Camera, and my sentiments there apply equally to this book, so you should check that out for my overall opinion.

The Negative is the most pertinent book in the series in that it focuses on how to record the image you want with the final print in mind. It is in this book that Adams discusses his famous Zone System, exposure, filters,
Carlomaria Berruti
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is by fare my favourite book about photography although admittedly i have not read that many.

It was not easy for me to read as it was referring often to relatively old equipment so I really had to put some effort to "go back in time" and understand how photograph would be taken then. Surprisingly that was the best part of the book as it forced to take back a bit of control from my camera as I discovered many functions previously handled manually now automated in modern DSLR.

By far the most
Danny Touw
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the first books I used to understand and study the zone system, in the 80's. It's been a reference book for me ever since.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Joanna by: Alex
Shelves: artsy
Because it is rather on the technical side for me (I have never taken a photography class or read a photography book, other than my camera manual [Panasonic DMC-FZ50]), I wanted to review the chapters I've read thus far for myself, and I figured while I was at it, I might as well begin a long book report. Although Adams discusses film photography rather than digital, most elements are also applicable to digital photography (and you'll have to forgive me for skipping over those that are not).

Rajiv Chopra
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant book. This is a masterpiece, by a master craftsman.

While the details may have changed, the principles have not. These are timeless, and this is what he sets out to demonstrate again.

The book is laid out in the most logical manner. The section on the Zone System is a must read for any photographer.

His grasp of the subject is masterly, and so is his treatment of the subject.

Jan 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every photographer
This is the most brilliant book I've read in quite a while, and it's not even a book-to-be-read in the traditional sense. It details, in lucid writing and with the help of countless photographs, Ansel Adams' philosophy of photography. It's all in one word, pre-visualization - but what would you really know if you read that word?

The book deals almost exclusively with black-and-white photography and mentions color only in passing. It was written before the advent of digital. Nevertheless, it would
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: photography
Disclaimer: I STILL shoot a lot of film.

Many would think that this book is outdated in the age of digital photography. It does discuss chemicals (younger readers may not know what Dektol, D-76, Hypo or clearing agents are), negative densities and diffusion and condenser enlargers. Certainly a stroll down memory lane for me! I leave most of this to a lab these days.
However, I think this book is still relevant in the digital age. Just the explanation of the Zone System is worth the price of the
Ric Morte
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Photographers
I have intended to read this book fo quite some time. Later editions are available but I wanted a copy for research purposes (Exposure Value (Ev)) that providided a snapshot of the understanding and terminology extant in the 1950's.

I haven't been disappointed. Ansel Adams is an extraordinary writer: clear, intelligent and in full command of his subject. A rare attribute is that he couples this with wonderful artistic feeling and appreciation for the medium of photography. Not going to put an
Carlos Quijano
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: photography
This is the second in Adams' series on photography. It was written before the advent digital photography, yet it is still worth reading. It can be a bit technical and geeky, and one can quickly scan over much of what pertains to the chemical processing. More importantly, Adams gives a thorough presentation of his Zone System, which he came up with 40 years earlier as a solution to figuring out exposure. For that alone, this book is a must read.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: photography
Another book by the master of black and white photography. If you are curious about the NEGATIVE and how to perfectly expose your photographs with EXTREME precision, this is your book. The famous ansel adams ZONE SYSTEM is fully explained. The zone system makes this book necessary to black and white photographers. A must read after "the camera".
Brian Hischier
Dec 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
He admits he's a creative scientist early on, which is fine by me, since photography is barely an art and photographers are the least likely to become artists. The photos inside are pristine, but you'll never find them in wall calendars or on t-shirts with his deified name underneath in some heavily serifed font. This is real photography. This is search and destroy. Voila.
Robert Taylor
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technical
I find the information in these three books are still useful for processing in the digital age. If you are willing to take the content for what it was intended you can directly apply it to digital processing techniques. Great books!
Jedrek Kostecki
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
The best of the Ansel Adams books I own, even if most of this material is better found on the internet. A lot of the chemicals and materials covered aren't really available anymore, especially the thick emulsion films. Good coverage of the Zone System though.
Jan 04, 2009 marked it as abandoned
Got this from the library. It looks like it's a bit too skewed to film (of course, it's Ansel Adams). I was hoping it was more of a composition technique book, but a lot of the book looks like it talks about film development/lens filter technique. I'll know more about it when I get into it.
Aimee J Martin
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Love this book but unfortunately school reading has halted my investment in this read, but will make time for Ansel Adams... one of my favourite artists of all time.. Timeless beautiful awe-inspiring photos.
Maddison Holland
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: art-books-read
Ansel Adams isn't the easiest to follow along with, but he's a master of film photography so it's cool to learn from. I think he especially excels at printing, but this was also super helpful to learn what negatives to work with.
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In the preface, this book is referred to as a 'master class in book form'. Indeed it is. Invaluable information from a master with film photography.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Though almost everything I now shoot is digital, this is a must read for all wannabe photographers. Adams will enter your soul as you practice.
May 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: photography
Some great content but a little too much is dated as it refers to chemical developing that I no longer do.
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
lots of darkroom knowledge from the Master
Mar 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Learned more from this book than any all the other photo technique books combined.
Pac Mclaurin
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good text book for film photography. Out of date presently as it is almost all directed toward analog photography. Still, if you do medium or large format, thjis is a great help.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, art, diy
I'm probably never going back to film, so this is obsolete for me.
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Film may becoming obsolete, but this information will help with understanding how digital cameras emulate film, if you know what you are doing.
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
As near a bible as there can be in photography, Ansel Adams' definitive treatise on how to expose and process negatives properly. The basic principles still apply in digital formats.
Jacques Willems
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read for all those involved in analog photography and more...
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Though wilderness and the environment were his grand passions, photography was his calling, his metier, his raison d'etre.

From: Ansel Adams, Photographer

Other books in the series

Ansel Adams Photography (3 books)
  • The Camera (Ansel Adams Photography, #1)
  • The Print (Ansel Adams Photography, #3)