About the Photographer
American, b. 1937 Orange, NJ
Robert Adams’s photographs offer views of natural landscapes transformed by their intersection with civilization. Adams was one of many photographers to challenge the romanticized view of landscape photography dominant in the first half of the 20th century, and his work is as much concerned with the modern post-war landscape as it is with beauty and form. His work was included in an exhibition titled, New Topographics: Photographs of Man-Altered Landscape curated by William Jenkins for the International Museum of Photography, Rochester, New York in 1975. The exhibition ushered in the new era of landscape photography and it showcased the ideals of the new approach: landscape could not be artificially separated from cultural and social counterparts, and landscape photography had to abandon the hollow sense of style it had inherited from the previous half century. The exhibit was a milestone for a new generation of landscape photographers and it drew attention to the novel idea of a social landscape. Calm and Somber, Adams’ images are an aesthetic articulation of a concern regarding man’s shifting conception of place and environment. Adams’s art is devoted to the belief that all land, no matter what has been done to it, retains an enduring significance best expressed through a straightforward approach.
Born in Orange, New Jersey in 1937, Robert Adams has spent much of his life photographing the developed American West. A writer as well as an artist, he earned a BA in English from the University of Redlands, California and a PhD in English from the University of Southern California. Adams has published a number of books featuring his writing and photographs, including West from the Columbia: Views at the River Mouth (1995), Listening to the River: Seasons in the American West (1994), To Make it Home: Photographs of the American West (1989), and Beauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional Values (1981). His work has been widely exhibited, including in a major retrospective exhibition at The Philadelphia Museum of Art (1989). Adams is also the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Photographer’s Fellowships, two John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships, and the Peer Award of The Friends of Photography.