© Robert Adams. Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, 2022


Denver, Colorado
Robert Adams
Gelatin silver print on baryta paper
Printed area size: 17,7 × 15,8 cm
Paper size: 30,5 × 22,7 cm
Signed and dated in pencil in front
Born: Orange, Nueva Jersey, 1937

© Robert Adams. Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, 2022


In essence, the work of Robert Adams presents an attentive and vigilant registry of the changes produced by humans on the landscape. In the 1960s the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons manufacturing plant was constructed in the Colorado desert, precisely in the heart of the territory most intensely linked to his work. The day Adams saw a column of smoke rise on the horizon he became conscious of the threat.

At that point, from 1970 until 1983, Adams decided to roam the nearby city of Denver—its periphery, the city’s enormous parking lots and malls—capturing with his Hasselbad camera anonymous citizens conforming docilely to the routines of consumerist society unaware of the silent threat posed by the nearby nuclear plant. The potential danger contrasts with the apparent calm represented in the photographs. Nevertheless, although the photos lack a clearly legible narrative drama, they convey a terrible sensation: the feeling of vulnerability in the face of the possibility that everything, from the beautiful to the most banal, could disappear at any time.

The series was published by Aperture in 1983 with the title Our Lives and Our Children: Photographs Taken Near the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant. In 2018, the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson organized a monographic exhibition dedicated to this series.


© Robert Adams. Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, 2022

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