Type of collection: Photography
Birth: Orange, Nueva Jersey, 1937
Gelatin silver print
Measurements of printed area: 25,8 x 22,7 cm (10 3/16 x 8 15/16 in.)
Adams has become a chronicler of the changes to the American landscape and reveals his concerns about urban transformation and how humans have squandered their resources over the years. The urban development of Denver and the changes to Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s are all dealt with in his photography. There is no drama in his images, except for the drama inherent in the reality he depicts: the highways, the green landscape laid waste, the supermarket parking lots or a child in the middle of nowhere. He himself quotes Loren Eiseley in From the Missouri West «nothing is lost but it can never be again as it was».
When it comes to landscape photography, the photographer establishes himself in opposition to Ansel Adams. Whereas Ansel Adams did not accept the ordinary as a limit to photography and set out to capture the extraordinary and its importance in the landscape, Robert Adams instead accepts it as part and parcel of the landscape and its limitations, thereby assuming its inherent banality. This photography should be understood in conjunction with that of the pioneer photographers from the 19th century such as Jackson or Timothy O'Sullivan who travelled across the Midwest with teams of topographers after the civil war in order to document and name the different territories and attract settlers. Among these pioneers was his own grandfather who took panoramic photographs of Dakota.
Adams' photography allows us to acknowledge the immeasurable, following the tradition of these 19th-century pioneers by naming the space, and making it appear less threatening, unknown and therefore more acceptable. His photography does not set out to find beauty in what he captures, but the beauty is often inevitable.
Inscriptions / Legend
Noted on the back in pencil by Robert Adams: "Denver, Colorado"
Our Lives and Our Children related
Production venue / CECA
CHUANG, Joshua; PAPAGEORGE, Tod; REYNOLDS, Jock y SZARKOWSKI, John. Robert Adams: The Place We Live. Yale University Press, 2011.
LIESBROCK, Heinz. Robert Adams: Gone? Steidl, 2010.
Robert Adams: A Road Through Shore Pine. (cat. Exp) Fraenkel Gallery, 2014.
Robert Adams: Trees 1965-2005. (cat. Exp) Fraenkel Gallery, 2007.
Robert Adams: Prayers In an American Church. Nazraeli Press y Blue Sky Gallery, 2012.
Robert Adams: Light Balances and On Any Given Day in Spring. Fraenkel Gallery & Matthew Marks Gallery, 2012.
Robert Adams: Prairie. Fraenkel Gallery, 2011.
Robert Adams: This Day. Yale University Press, 2011.
Robert Adams: Sea Stories. Yale University Press, 2011.
Robert Adams: What Can We Believe Where? Photographs of the American West, 1965–2005. Yale University Press, 2010.
Robert Adams: Circa 1970. (cat. Exp) Fraenkel Gallery, 2005.
Robert Adams: Beauty in Photography. Aperture, 2005.
Robert Adams: Turning Back. Fraenkel Gallery y Matthew Marks Gallery, 2005.
Robert Adams: Why People Photograph. Aperture, 2005.
Courtesy of the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Related dates: 1960-1970