Robert Adams: Tenancy

A major new work, Tenancy is comprised of 43 photographs by Robert Adams made in Nehalem Bay State Park, Oregon, between 2013 and 2015, with short texts by the artist. The book’s theme of tenancy expresses the idea of “temporary possession of what belongs to another”—specifically, the natural environment. Adams’ recent photographs of the landscape reference the current and imminent threats of clearcutting, environmental degradation, and natural disasters along the Northwestern coast of the US.

The black-and-white photographs include poignant images of massive tree stumps on the beach—a product of the cutting of first and early second growth—as well as shimmering stretches of coastline protected for endangered birds previously thought to have abandoned northern Oregon.

In Tenancy Adams writes, “Each year thousands of people visit the Spit and the adjoining town of Manzanita. Their reasons for coming are personal, but if one watches as they leave their cars and stare seaward it is a fair guess, I think, that many are looking to escape illusion and to be reconciled.”

Robert Adams (born 1937) has published more than 60 books and has been the recipient of Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundation fellowships, the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award. His work was the subject of a major traveling retrospective organized by the Yale University Art Gallery (2011-2014).