Robert Adams (American, b.1937) is a photographer best known for documenting both the beauty and commercialization of the American West. Born in Orange, New Jersey, he grew up in Colorado and earned a PhD in English from the University of Southern California. While Adams was teaching English at Colorado College, he began taking pictures of nature and architecture with a 35 mm reflex camera, and learned photographic technique from the professional photographer Myron Wood (American, b.1921). His earliest series The New West (1968–1971) depicts the uniform housing tracts that were part of suburban development in Colorado. The series Los Angeles Spring (1978–1983) focuses on the remains of citrus estates, which were transformed into housing developments during the 1950s. Although Adams seems to criticize the degradation of the natural landscape, he emphasizes that his work is primarily a study of light. The series of nocturnal landscapes Summer Nights Walking (1976–1982) depicts sidewalks, trees, and fields lit by moonlight and street lamps. In all of his work, Adams challenges romanticized and idealized landscape photography, and seeks to create a new vision of landscape that encompasses untouched nature and human presence. Adams received a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 1973 and 1980, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in 1994, and the Hasselblad Award in 2009. His work has been exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He lives and works in Astoria, Oregon.

Timeline

National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
Guggenheim Fellowship
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
Charles Pratt Memorial Award
Guggenheim Fellowship
Colorado Governor's Award in the Arts
Born in Orange, NJ
Spectrum International Prize for Photography
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award

Exhibitions

2007
DIE ELBE [in] between - Wasser, Strome, Zeiten, Kunstmuseum Magdeburg - Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen, Magdeburg
2007
Landscapes of Colorado, Center for Visual Art (CVA), Denver, CO
2007
SECOND VIEW- Amerikanische Fotografie, Kunstmuseum Magdeburg - Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen, Magdeburg
2007
On the Wall, Aperture Gallery, New York City, NY
2006
Galerie Greta Meert, Brussels (solo)
2005
Turning Back, SFMOMA, SF
2005
Turning Back, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany
2003
Commerical, Residential, Roth Horowitz, NY
2003
No Small Journeys, Matthew Marks Gallery
2002
What We Bought, The New World, Yale University Art Gallery
2001
National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway
2001
Robert Adams: Places – People, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover MA
2001
Reinventing the West, Reed College, Portland, OR
2001
True West, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX
2000
California, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2000
California, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY
2000
Galerie Meert Rihoux, Brussels
1998
To the Mouth of the Columbia, The Art Museum, Princeton University, NJ
1997
Documenta X, Kassel, Germany
1997
Galerie Meert Rihoux, Brussels (solo)
1997
Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco, CA
1996
Our Lives and Our Children, Musee d'Arte Moderne de St. Etienne St. Etienne, France
1996
Perpetual Mirage, Whitney Museum of American Art NY
1996
Crossing the Frontier, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art San Francisco
1995
West from the Columbia, Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco, CA
1995
What We Brought: The New World, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany
1994
Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco, CA
1993
At the End of the Columbia River, Denver Art Museum Denver
1993
Galerie Meert Rihoux, Brussels (solo)
1993
Critical Landscapes, Tokyo Metropolitain Museum of Photography Japan
1993
National Gallery of Canada (cat.) Ottawa
1991
Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort, Museum of Modern Art NY
1991
The Kiss of the Apollo (cat.), Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco
1991
, Photo Gallery International Tokyo, Japan
1990
The Indomitable Spirit (cat.), International Center for Photography NY
1989
On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: 150 Years of Photography (traveling, cat.), National Gallery of Art Washington, DC
1989
Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia, PA
1987
Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco, CA