“If you haven’t loved a tree enough to if not hug it, you at least want to walk up close enough to touch it as if you are touching a profound mystery.”
• Born in Orange. New Jersey, 1937 • Adams received a BA from the University of Redlands in California and a PhD in English from the University of Southern California. • Received a variety of awards for his photographs and acts of kindness towards the natural world • Has been honored around the country through shows in museums such as; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Denver Art Museum and Philadelphia Museum of Art • Currently lives and remains working with his wife in Northwestern Oregon. Pbs.org
• • • • • His big developed from his love of the outdoors, which played an important role in his childhood and the relationship he had with his parents. Began taking pictures of landscapes After realizing that these landscape pictures, though very beautiful, were not going to bring him success. His classmates suggested that he take pictures of houses and towns in Colorado, were he was teaching at the time While taking these pictures in Colorado he really began working towards his Big Idea which soon became ecology and the conservation of the natural world and the ways that humans disturb it.
– Going further with his big idea, Roberts looked to show the hope that may be there. This can be seen in his photographs all together and he shows this by not only photography the disturbance of nature but also the beauty that exists that has not yet been affected by human growth. Pbs.org
“An underlying tension in Adams’s body of work is the contradiction between landscapes visibly transformed or scarred by human presence and the inherent beauty of light and land rendered by the camera. Adams’s complex photographs expose the hollowness of the 19th Century American doctrine of Manifest Destiny, expressing somber indignation at the idea (still alive in the 21st Century) that the West represents an unlimited natural resource for human consumption.” pbs.org
Looking Past Citrus Groves into the San Bernardino Valley; Northeast of Riverside, California, 1983Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches
From Lookout Mountain, at Buffalo Bill's Grave. Jefferson County, Colorado1970Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches
What are some ways that humans disturb nature?
What are some ways that we can do to help preserve nature?
Photographing the West
• Began by Photographing basic landscapes in an effort to capture the beauty. • Then moved towards working toward his big idea by combining the elements of nature with human elements, such as roads, cars, houses, etc. • With photographing the West he was amazed by the beauty that the Colorado sunlight presented to him, and he was shocked to see how beautiful a photograph could be even if it is of something so sad as the destruction of nature. Pbs.org
East from Flagstaff Mountain, Boulder County, 1975, Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches (left) Burning Oil Sludge, Boulder County, Colorado 1974Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches (right) – Each of these photographs are perfect examples of Robert Adam’s big idea. In the first one he combines the element of nature, which is a dark hedgerow which wraps around a distant suburban city (the human element disturbing the natural). – With the photograph on the right of the smoke from oil, it shows how human technology is ruining the natural scenery of the Colorado plains. Pbs.org
Quotations About the
• "There’s a picture of mine that I’m happy with, taken above Boulder, Colorado....We’re up on a foothill, probably a thousand feet above Boulder. The bottom of the picture is a kind of bowl of dark trees. And in this bowl is the city of Boulder and beyond it a view of the plains. To me that’s an unusually successful picture because it suggests some of the contradictory nature of the Western experience."- Robert Adams "Light is a physical thing that youﾕre working with. It’s also obviously metaphor. It’s what you’re working with to arrive at metaphors. Itﾕs the age-old symbol for truth. So it’s loaded. But, fundamentally, it’s just a deeply mysterious, compelling ingredient for your understanding of life and your response to it....It’s at the center of why and how one makes pictures."- Robert Adams
"Untitled"1981Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches "Untitled"1981Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches "Colorado Springs, Colorado"1968Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches "Newly Completed Tract House, Colorado Springs, Colorado"1968Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches Pbs.org
His thoughts on the houses shown above; “Few of the new houses will stand in fifty years; linoleum buckles on counter tops, and unseasoned lumber twists walls out of plumb before the first occupants arrive Visible out picture windows, however, are fragments of open sky and long views that obscurely make radiant even what frightens us”
• Began shooting landscapes with Ansel Adam’s photographs • Liked how Ansel Adams showed beauty through light • Liked the ideas of Lewis Hine, a photographer of the early nineteen hundreds – Robert Adams formed his big idea by studying Lewis Hine’s work, some of which surrounded ideas about child labor issues. • Robert Adams liked how Hine “…showed what was good so that we would value it, and what was bad so that we would want to change it. Pbs.org
What are some of the ways Robert Adams showed hope in his photographs?
• Turning Back Time is a book of Robert Adams’ that looks closely at the problem of deforestation • This collection of photographs honors trees in different ways and at different stages of their lives. • With some of his pictures of Poplars in this book, Adams uses them as a small dose of hope. Pbs.org
•"Kerstin, old growth stump from early cutting, surrounded by the remains of recently cut small trees, on Humbug Mountain, Clatsop County, Oregon"1999-2003From the series "Turning Back" Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches
Why is deforestation such a problem?
How do you think Robert Adams’ photography of deforestation help’s the fight against it?
"A second growth stump on top of a first growth stump, Coos County, Oregon" 1999-2003 From the series "Turning Back" Gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches "Waste in a Clear-cut, Clatsop County, Oregon"1999-2003From the series "Turning Back" Gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches "Stacking the de-limbed trunks of an immature 'harvest,' Columbia County, Oregon"1999-2003From the series "Turning Back" Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches "Sitka Spruce, Cape Blanco State Park, Curry County, Oregon"1999-2003From the series "Turning Back" Gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches pbs.org
Adams, Robert. The New West. 1974, Colorado University Press: Colorado. Pbs.org. Art: 21. Robert Adams. 28. Sept. 09.http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/adams/in dex.html.>