*Gathering Robert Adams*
These photos are from Robert Adams' What We Bought: The New World, which he completed twenty-five years ago. In April 2000, the Yale University Art Gallery purchased the 193 prints in the album. I asked YUAG how to get the digital files of these photos because I was attracted by the photo called "dirt with tire marks". Thanks to YUAG for helping me contact the gallery of Adams, after the gallery asked the artist himself, he allowed me to GATHERING all the photos in his album, as long as the size of the online reproductions can be limited to no more than 500 pixels on the longest side. I feel very very very honored and grateful! Here are some introductions to these photos:
In tone and theme, our purchase echoes Adams' 1977 book Denver: A Photographic Survey of the Metropolitan Area, while the subtitle - New World cites another work, The New West, which documents the 1970 The overdevelopment of the land around Denver in the early 1990s. Through these images we can see the looting of urban sprawl; specifically, Adams found its flourishing form along the length of the Colorado Interstate Highway and along these roads beyond Colorado Prince and a suburban development shift into the frontier of the Rocky Mountains. Frustrated by the apparent destruction and overexploitation of the landscape, Adams took these pictures with precision. In 1995, he wrote of the photos: "These photos document what we bought, paid for, and couldn't buy."
Denver has historically been an American frontier town, founded by gold diggers in 1861. Its economy is based on gambling, taverns, livestock, and the provision of commodity trading services for local miners. Denver's history can be summed up simply as cycles of boom and bust. The most astonishing periods of growth occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, when Colorado's oil, military, and tourism industries were booming. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the U.S. energy crisis and the resulting high oil prices created an energy boom in Denver. Denver built a large number of new downtown skyscrapers during this period. However, when the price of oil plummeted from $34 a barrel to $9 in 1986, the economy slumped along with it, causing nearly 15,000 oil industry workers in the region to lose their jobs and the highest office vacancy rate (30%) in the country.
As the population of the Denver metropolitan area increases and housing supply shrinks, swathes of hastily conceived commercial and residential buildings continue to pop up. Adams' goal was to document what Americans bought, paid for, and couldn't. "They document a separation from ourselves and, in turn, a separation from the natural world we claim to love," Adams said. For more than three decades, his photographs have focused on depicting the relationship between human activity and the land, revealing the devastating and relentless impact of economic and real estate, tourism development on the land. From these photos, we can see desolation and desolation. Showcasing manifestations of uncontrolled growth brought about by humans: plot houses, strip malls, warehouse buildings, construction sites and scarred land.
From these black and white photos, I felt the silence,solitude, emptiness and depression that Adams' image world conveyed to me. Reminds me of a reviewer who said: Adams' path is a thoughtful metaphor for loneliness, connection, or freedom. No artist speaks in the visual language of landscape, development politics, urbanization and the elimination of the natural environment as Robert Adams. I think so, Adams used his photography to depict the destruction of nature by urbanization. This destruction spills over into landscapes that threaten pre-existing natural ecology, prompting reflection and reflection on the trade-offs we make when intervening in nature to build ostensibly better homes.