Astoria, Oregon, a small town beside the Columbia River mouth, is both the subject of Adams’ latest pictures and the site where he and his wife have vacationed for over thirty years. Until recently, he made few pictures of this area so well-known to him; but in 1990, troubled by the impending war in the Persian Gulf and the progressive development of Astoria, he began documenting this familiar landscape of beaches, bluffs and jetties. West from the Columbia is a journal, a quiet warning, a preservation of cherished space. With the formality and reserve that imbues all of his photographs, Adams offers the grand natural landscape and the traces of man within that landscape: what can be destroyed and what cannot, what we are taking and what we are leaving behind.
Robert Adams has been awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships and the Photographer’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1989 he was the subject of a major retrospective organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. His work and writings on photographs have appeared in numerous books and monographs.
Robert Adams: West from the Columbia will be on view at Fraenkel Gallery concurrently with Carleton Watkins: Recent Acquisitions.