Thursday, 24 March 2011

Robert Adams

Burning Oil Sludge North of Denver (click to enlarge)

East from Flagstaff Mountain (click to enlarge)

Robert Adams is a relatively new name to me, after some searching for influential landscape photographers I came across a now famous 1975 exhibition: "New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape" which apparently the spirit and aesthetics of the exhibition has had a profound effect on contemporary landscape photography.

For one, you can take a look at the recently discussed Edward Burtynsky to see this such effect.

Robert Adams was one of eight young Americans invited to be represented in the exhibition, and after a quick look at the other photographers I think his work is the stand out of the exhibition.

The two above images are impressive and striking to look at. The sharp, deep contrast in Burning Oil Sludge North of Denver [1973] of the poisonous black emitted from the fire against the crisp, wintry sky and ground is stunning. The exact detail of the ghastly plumes of smoke depicted by the image is remarkable and is made all the clearer by the complementary bleak snow.

In the second image, East from Flagstaff Mountain [1976], the standpoint is magnificent, it just lets the landscape fall away from the viewer. It feels like the city below sprawls out to the grey horizon. Oddly enough, this photograph makes me recall the play 'Macbeth', where Macbeth would "never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him", meaning he wouldn't be defeated until the forest travelled to the castle. Adams' image, and especially from the audiences' viewpoint, feels like these great pines are marching on to the city below, maybe to mark the end of a crazed power hungry patriarch.

You can read up on the 1975 "New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape" exhibition: here.

Unfortunately Robert Adams doesn't have any official website but you can find sufficient info here, here and here.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. yeh again doesnt make ma heart thump.. they are very beautiful images but being the engineer i am i feel that they are again lucky and just simply 'pretty'. i like concept...feel free to contradict this!