Zone Eleven


This book is not yet published, but will be available from December 2021.

ISBN: 9788862087483 Category:

Mike Mandel


Zone Eleven is a reference to Ansel Adams’ Zone System, a method to control exposure of the negative in order to obtain a full range of tonality in the photographic print from the deepest black of Zone 0 to the brightest highlight in Zone 10. Zone Eleven is a metaphor coined by artist Mike Mandel in his challenge to create a book of Adams’ photographs outside of the bounds of his personal work. Many of these photographs were found in the archives of his commercial and editorial assignments, and from his experimentation with the new Polaroid material of the times. For this book, Mandel has unearthed images that are unexpected for Adams, and created a new context of facing page relationships, and sequence. Zone Eleven is the product of Mike Mandel’s research of over 50,000 Adams images located within four different archives to present a body of Adams’ work that was unknown until now. Mike Mandel is well known for his collaboration with Larry Sultan in the 1970s – 1990s. They published Evidence in 1977, a collection of 59 photographs chosen from more than two million images that the artists viewed at the archives of government agencies and tech-oriented corporations. Conceptually, Zone Eleven is a companion book to Evidence. As Evidence reframes the institutional documentary photograph with new context and meaning, Zone Eleven responds to the audience expectation of “the iconic Ansel Adams nature photograph.” But Mandel selects images that do not fit that expectation. Zone Eleven is a book of Ansel Adams images that surprisingly speak to issues of the social relations, the built environment, and alienation.

Additional information

Weight 300 g
Dimensions 28 x 23 cm
Publisher name Damiani Editore
Publication date 14 December 2021
Number of pages 112
Format Hardback
Contributors Photographs by Ansel Adams, Text by Erin O'Toole
Dimensions 28 x 23 cm
Weight 300 g


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Mike Mandel (b. 1950) moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area in 1973 to study photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. During this time he met fellow artist Larry Sultan, with whom he collaborated on Evidence (1975-77), a sequence of found photographs from government and corporate archives that has been recognized as one of the most important photographic books of the 20th century. From 1973 to 1990 Mandel and Sultan also developed a series of enigmatic public billboards that rupture the conventions of advertising culture.

Mandel's most recent personal projects have been in collaboration with his wife, Chantal Zakari. Their book, The State of Ata, (2010) speaks to the clash between Islam and secularism in Turkey. They Came to Baghdad, (2012) is a response to the Iraq War, and Lockdown Archive (2015) is a record of all the images uploaded to the web that relate to the military occupation of Watertown after the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. He currently lives in Watertown, Massachusetts, and teaches at Tufts University, in greater Boston.