Since the 1960s, Robert Adams has used his camera lens to document the changing landscape of the United States. Covering the turbulent period from 1978 to 1983, Robert Adams’s photographs of the Los Angeles basin document a disintegration that is at once social and ecological. At the same time, however, they reveal a persistent verdancy and vitality in the landscape that contains a glimmer of hope. This hope that Adams shares with the viewer is much like the hope held out at the end of a classical tragedy—insistent, yet difficult to account for. In California we find a bird in a defoliated orchard, a suddenly clear day on a quiet road, the astonishing silhouette of a eucalyptus in smog—and we are left wondering how to explain these seemingly unreal moments.The images here constitute yet another chapter in the oeuvre of one of the most important landscape photographers of our time, building on and communicating with Adams’s continuing contribution to the national dialogue about America’s health and future—as well as his monumental contribution to contemporary photography. Printed in stunning tritones, this new monograph features a revelatory introduction by former United States Poet Laureate Robert Hass.
California was published by Fraenkel Gallery in conjunction with Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, to accompany concurrent exhibitions at both galleries.