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Thread: Robert Adams in Denver

  1. #1
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Robert Adams in Denver

    A couple people mentioned Robert Adams as an influence in the thread. He has a 40 year retrospective up in Denver coinciding with the release of the new 3 volume opus book set by Yale University Art Gallery. The exhibit schedule is here.

    I know he is not everyone's cup of tea. He was my friend and mentor in the early 80's when I was in graduate school. He was perhaps my most poignant critic (much of which I rejected) and he taught me allot. He is IME the brightest guy I have ever met in photography and I have known a few like Van Deren Coke and Beaumont Newhall. This exhibit is exhaustive, 225 prints shows all of his best work. I believe he is at his best when he doesn't over think his images-when he just feels them.

    Anyway if you are a fan or just curious you should check it out.

    There is also a very nice Motherwell exhibit up too on another floor.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  2. #2

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    Re: Robert Adams in Denver

    No one makes photographs that look anything like Robert Adams' work. He's a true American original. Long after all the A. Adams and Weston landscape clones are forgotten, R. Adams work will continue to be the subject of major retrospectives. His influence on up and coming photographers cannot be understated - a quiet giant with enormous contemporary relevance and probably the only contemporary landscape photographer who is considered "cool" by young art students.

    Although he has strong, singular views that might make for a dramatic poster or calender image, those are few and far between and can in no way account for this photographer's eminence. Rather, the beauty of the work lies in it's understatement and the cumulative effect of a series of images. (Not to mention his career-long resistance to polarizing filters, the zone system and transcendent views of mt. ranges). His photographs have an unprecedented "naturalness" in their compositions. "Contrived" is not a word I would ever use in a critique of his images.

    Not knowing how he works, I think it presumptuous to distinguish between pictures he "felt" vs. pictures he's "overthought". Besides, his work is so unique and so unhampered by the influence of other photographers and rules of composition I think to look at the pictures from a critical thinking vs. pure feeling dialectic is overly simplistic if not wholly irrelevant to his amazing accomplishment.

  3. #3

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    Re: Robert Adams in Denver

    Time to put some money away for that 3-volume collection...

  4. #4

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    Re: Robert Adams in Denver

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    A couple people mentioned Robert Adams as an influence in the thread. He has a 40 year retrospective up in Denver coinciding with the release of the new 3 volume opus book set by Yale University Art Gallery. The exhibit schedule is here.
    I had the book set pre-ordered since it was announced and I received it about a month ago. It is one of the most impressively bound and made sets I have ever owned. And the work is so great. He is a huge influence on me.

    Will definitely be seeing this when it returns to the east coast.

  5. #5
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    Re: Robert Adams in Denver

    Yes, I also got the book set and found it superb. Certainly on the 2011 list. I read that it is already sold out at the publisher. Amazon still has copies at discount: http://amzn.to/vPbAqf

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    Re: Robert Adams in Denver

    I'm gritty (sorry) for Robert Adams. Thanks for the Amazon heads up. Only 1left.

  7. #7

    Re: Robert Adams in Denver

    I have the book too and it's wonderful. I couldn't agree more that his photographs have a cumulative effect, and this works very well in his books, where the images are carefully sequenced.

    One effect of his photographs on me is that I trust his intentions, his honesty. Often I see photographs, as was alluded to above, that are really dramatic and over-determined as it were, as if the photographer intended to present a show of virtuosity in skill. And this results, unfortunately, in pictures that look and feel derivative and like so many others that are concerned with stagecraft. I feel a resistance and suspicion of them. Like I do in marketing and advertising.

    But with Adams's pictures, there is a clarity of intention and intellect that is communicated so effectively by the visual honesty of the pictures. He wants to show you something that he cares deeply about. That's why I can look at a sequence of 4 images of the same apple tree and some looking away from the tree in the distance, and feel that they're all equally important, in describing the place and what he cares about.

  8. #8
    Joshua Tree, California
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    Re: Robert Adams in Denver

    He's not my cup of tea for sure. I really don't get his work.

  9. #9
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    Re: Robert Adams in Denver

    Took me also many years to appreciate the work (you couldn't tell that from my photography), although some images still leave me cold. BTW, I think the review written on the amazon site by Dennis Witmer - an excellent photographer himself - is spot on.

  10. #10

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    Re: Robert Adams in Denver

    I met him when I was a young photographer and he was very generous, a real nice man.

    I don't appreciate many of his individual images either, but as a body of work it's impressive.

    But perhaps he shouldn't have published a book of dog pictures? Those were embarrassing and cringe-worthy. Maybe if he had a larger dog it would have been better? I Hear the Leaves Love the Light

    This is a beautiful series, even if the book design is atrocious: Summer Nights

    His writing is even better than his images, imho: Robert Adams: Beauty in Photography.

    Also: Why People Photograph

    Buy those two, they are inexpensive and relevant to everyone here.

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