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Our Lives and Our Children

Our Lives and Our Children: Photographs Taken Near the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, by Robert Adams, Millerton, N.Y.: Aperture, 1984, 96 pp., 74 black and white photographs.

The factory at Rocky Flats, near Denver, makes plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons. Robert Adams sums up his pictures of Rocky Flats residents—people of all ages, many in family groups, all shot outdoors, especially in shopping malls—with the idea that one can gain the will to challenge power “after we have noticed the individuals with whom we live. How mysteriously absolute each is. How many achieve, in moments of reflection or joy or concern, a kind of heroism. Each refutes the idea of acceptable losses.” Nice, but that’s not what’s happening here.

Shooting mostly from a low view, from ground level, up at people walking past him, Adams displaces these people from their surroundings. The way they pass by, never

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