Originally published in 1974, Robert Adams‘ book The New West signaled a shift in photographic representation of the American landscape. Eschewing photography’s role in romanticizing the Western landscape, Adams focused instead on the construction of tract and mobile homes, subdivisions, shopping centers, and urban sprawl in the suburbs of Colorado Springs and the Denver area. Objective and direct, Adams’s photographs, rendered in his signature middle-gray scale, unsentimentally depict a despoiled landscape washed in the intense Colorado sunlight. Michelle Dunn Marsh, deputy director of the Aperture Foundation and co-publisher of Aperture magazine, moderates a discussion about the impact of Adams’ work as well as the continuing effects of development and urban sprawl on the Western landscape. Panelists include Joshua Chuang, Marcia Brady Tucker Assistant Curator of Photographs at the Yale University Art Gallery; Mark Klett, photographer; and Shane Coen, principal and founder of Coen + Partners, a nationally renowned landscape architecture practice. This event was presented by the Aperture Foundation in collaboration with the Photography Department of Parsons The New School for Design (www.parsons.newschool.edu/ ) and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, with generous support from the Kettering Family Foundation and the Henry Nias Foundation. It was made possible in part by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Posted: March 12th, 2008
Photography in Context: The Influence of The New West