Alinder's sympathetic history captures the excitement and energy of determined artists who invigorated and redefined the art...

GROUP F.64

EDWARD WESTON, ANSEL ADAMS, IMOGEN CUNNINGHAM, AND THE COMMUNITY OF ARTISTS WHO REVOLUTIONIZED AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY

In the 1930s, daring young artists invented a distinctive style of photography.

At a party in October 1932, a group of California photographers decided to band together for exhibitions, calling themselves f.64, a name, they explained, “derived from a diaphragm number of the photographic lens. It signifies to a large extent the qualities of clearness and definition” that defined their work. Alinder (Ansel Adams, 1996, etc.), who served as assistant to Adams, one of the most well-known members of f.64 and author of its manifesto, comes to this group biography with personal knowledge of many of her subjects, including Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, Brett Weston and Preston Holder. As collaborator on Adams’ autobiography, she became intimately acquainted with the life and work of many of the other members. Group f.64 arose partly in reaction to Alfred Stieglitz, founder of the Manhattan galleries 291 and An American Place, who “had ruled as the largely unchallenged master of creative photography in America for three decades.” Coveting “the grace of his recognition,” the California group nevertheless believed that a Western aesthetic was far different from the photography heralded in New York and also from the popular genre of pictorialism: romantic, painterly images produced by soft-focus lenses and printed on matte, textured paper. The group’s first major exhibition opened at the respected M.H. De Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, mounted by its intrepid director Lloyd Rollins. Among 64 prints were Adams’ rugged landscapes and Weston’s sensuous rocks, shells and vegetables. Although the exhibition did not attract much notice, it inaugurated for the exhibitors a period of “explosive creativity.” From 1933 to 1940, their work appeared in galleries and museums, making them increasingly visible and earning wide acclaim.

Alinder's sympathetic history captures the excitement and energy of determined artists who invigorated and redefined the art of photography.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1620405550

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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