With his highly distilled, monolithic vision, Robert Adams (born 1937) is one of the most significant photographers of the changing landscape of the American West. His black and white images of neglected highways, desolate farms and suburban sprawl chart the impact on the environment of unfettered urban development and the thoughtless exploitation of natural resources. Adams first came to public attention in 1975 when he was included in the now famous New Topographics exhibition held at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. The show made the case for a formally radical mode of landscape photography in which the Romantic and Symbolist predilections of the American modernists were displaced by a more impersonal, disinterested vision. Composed in an 8x10 inch view camera, Adams’ prints are almost featureless, a minimalist rendition of the sheer ordinariness of the American landscape. Taken against the background of a growing environmental movement, but rarely overtly political, Adams’ photography has consistently pointed to the aesthetic dissonance generated by a degraded modern environment.
An exhibition of the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.
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