by Lois Manno
Best of Show, New Mexico Book Awards, 2009
What was the most challenging photographic subject of Ansel Adams career? Many would agree that it was Carlsbad Caverns, where Adams struggled to photograph in the inhospitable darkness. At one point during his work at the Caverns, Adams wrote a letter to friend and fellow photographer Alfred Stieglitz, asking him to pray for me. Did he succeed or fail? The previously unpublished Adams images in this book will allow lovers of photographic art to come to their own conclusions.
"Visions Underground" traces the history of artists and photographers who have explored the awe-inspiring forms and colors in one of the most extensive cavern systems in the world. The book includes images from the first caver/artist to capture the cave's mysteries in oil on canvas --Will Shuster in 1924-- to contemporary, surrealistic photographs of cave pearls, soda straws, and pristine pools of blue-green water.
With over 140 images, "Visions Underground" tells the story of how Carlsbad Caverns has inspired artists since the early days of the twentieth century. It also documents the history of cave exploration at the park and the evolution of photography. Every cave enthusiast, photographer, and art lover will enjoy reading this unique book.
Lois Manno has been a caver for thirty years. She is a fine artist and graphic designer who has volunteered at Carlsbad Caverns National Park for more than fifteen years. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.