Show of the week
The transcendental glory of Ansel Adams's panoramic black-and-white photographs of the American West—shimmering waterfalls, luminous skies, towering granite cliffs—cannot be duplicated by the swooping helicopter shots of his beloved High Sierras and Yosemite National Park that augment this eloquent 90-minute tribute. Even nature itself can look drab without Adams's dramatic contrasts of light and shadow, which he crafted largely in the darkroom. As he explained, "I see in my mind's eye something that is not literally there." What producer Ric Burns (New York: A Documentary Film) sees in Adams is both a Whitman-esque bard of the wilderness, whose photographs span most of a century, from 1916 to 1983 (a year before he died at 82) and an engaging eccentric. A piano prodigy at 12, he switched to the camera after an awe-inspiring trip to Yosemite at 14. It was an emotional peak. The valleys included a mental breakdown in his 30s. Still, his lyrical photographs shine through here.
Sumptuous Coffee-Table Book for TV
Terry Kelleher is on vacation