CALLAHAN, edited by John Szarkowski (Aperture, $30). Harry Callahan's photographs take his external circumstances and make them a mirror of his internal life. His career began in Chicago, and so it is this city, its buildings and people, and the landscape around Lake Michigan, that is the subject of much of his early work. The viewer realizes at once, however, that these are not objective representations of a particular region of the country. Callahan has superimposed his spirit on his subjects, sometimes literally, as in his double exposures, but more often without technical tricks, just by the force of his clear, elegant vision. It is this vision that unifies the diverse content of his pictures. The abstractions, the collages, the portraits, the early architectural shots in Chicago and the later ones in New York, Mexico, Peru, and Providence, Rhode Island, the pictures in the woods and at the shore are all held together by a single, powerful sensibility. Callahan's work may be photography's most persuasive and exquisite argument for the subjectivity of human vision.
THE PORTFOLIOS OF ANSEL ADAMS, introduction by John Szarkowski (New York Graphic Society, $19.50). Few photographers could fill so many volumes with first rate images as Ansel Adams. What is equally impressive is that the audience for photographs of this high quality is large enough to sustain the frequent publication of Adam's books. This latest offering is a fresh selection and arrangement of pictures culled from the seven portfolios Ansel Adams produced between 1948 and 1976. Few of his most famous prints are included here. Instead, the emphasis is on those pictures that are not so well known. Less familiar scenes from Yosemite, Yellowstone, Death Valley, and the Sierra Nevada are illustrated, and among the portraits are pictures of Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston. All display the technical mastery for which Adams is justly celebrated. As John Szarkowski states in his superb commentary on the photos, "The best of his pictures stir our memory of what it is like to be alone in an untouched world."
PAUL STAND: Sixty Years of Photographs, profile by Calvin Tomkins (Aperture, $25). Paul Strand found his photographic style early, and with it, he also found the style that would dominate American photograpy for the next 50 years. "Straight" photography, as this approach was called, began with Strand's 1916 exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz's Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession. The persistence of its influence, which is still strong today, has been remarkable. In a straight photograph, the photographer seeks to record as directly and as simply as possible the image on which his lens is focused, to fuse his own vision with the technology of the camera. It is this approach which Strand initiated and which he pursued with great success throughout a long career. Whether he worked in the American West, Southwest, or Northeast, in Mexico, France, Egypt, or Morocco, Strand remained faithful to his early goals. He continued to seek, as he put it, "Not the superimposition of Paul Strand's ideas . . . but the basic reality" of a place and its people.