When i first saw an exhibition with the photographs by Robert Adams, i searched my memory and discovered that unconsciously i had seen many of these before. Photographs in which he documented the American way of life in the West, but it was not until i visited his exhibition at the Josef Albers museum, that all fell into place. Here was a very nice number of iconic photographs brought together in one splendid exhibition.
Robert Adams (b. 1937) is a photographer who has documented the extent and the limits of our damage to the American West, recording there, in over fifty books of pictures, both reasons to despair and to hope. “The goal,” he has said, “is to face facts but to find a basis for hope. To try for alchemy.”
Adams grew up in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Colorado, in each place enjoying the out-of-doors, often in company with his father. At age twenty-five, as a college English teacher with summers off, he learned photography, choosing as his first subjects early prairie churches and early Hispanic art, subjects of unalloyed beauty. After spending time in Scandinavia with his Swedish wife, Kerstin, however, he realized that there were complexities in the American geography that merited exploration.
In the 1970s and ’80s Adams produced a series of books—The New West, Denver, What We Bought, Summer Nights—that focused on expanding suburbs along Colorado’s Front Range, books that pictured heedless development but also the surviving light, scale, form, and silence of the natural world. He also examined this mixture of humanity’s imprint and nature’s resilience in the wider western landscape (From the Missouri West) and in the Los Angeles basin (Los Angeles Spring, California).
FTN-books has the exhibition posters of the Josef Albers Museum available at www.ftn-books.com