Picks and Pans Review: Ansel Adams, Photographer

updated 08/11/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/11/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Originally a documentary produced for PBS in 1981, this 59-minute tape isn't the ideal way to appreciate Adams' nature photography. Even the best videotape player and the best TV set can't reproduce the details Adams labored over so meticulously. But the program offers a humanizing look at a man whose art often has awesome, majestic qualities. It's painful seeing Adams, who was 79 at the time, playing the piano with his arthritic hands. (As a boy he planned to become a pianist.) But there's a charming scene of him hiking through the New Mexico desert with his friend of 50 years, Georgia O'Keeffe, and he seems remarkably tranquil as he walks through Yosemite National Park talking about his life. Adams, who died in 1984, says at one point, "You can't help trying to record what you see." In his case, of course, it was a remarkable combination of sight and vision. (Pacific Arts, $29.95)

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