Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature

By Paul Martineau

J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012; 144 pages, $39.95

Among my clearest memories of the 1960s (yes, I still have them) are the evocative nature photographs by Eliot Porter that were published in several large-format books by the Sierra Club. One of these, The Place No One Knew, which portrayed the exotic beauty of the soon-to-be-submerged Glen Canyon of the Colorado, spurred the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964. Now this retrospective from the Getty Museum reviews Porter’s career, from his early days as a black-and-white photographer, in the school of Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, to his path-breaking color photography, breathtaking in its attention to subtleties of tone and texture. Paul Martineau, a curator at the Getty Museum, contributes a short biography of Porter, but the ninety-one photos, including a number of Porter’s early black-and-white compositions, are the centerpiece of this book.

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