MacArthur Fellows Program

Robert Adams

Photographer | Class of 1994

Longmont, Colorado
57 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published July 1, 1994

About Robert's Work

Robert Adams is an independent photographer whose images of the contemporary American West are visual and philosophical explorations of a new frontier.

His primary concern is to record the hard facts of our response to the land, while at the same time to suggest, by attention to form and light, a basis for hope.  He has published fifteen books of photographs, including The New West (1974) and What We Bought (1995), which survey suburban development around Denver, Los Angeles Spring (1986), which explores resilient fragments of the natural world in southern California, and Listening to the River (1994), which records the consolations still to be found in anonymous places in the semi-rural West.  Adams has also published two books of essays, Beauty in Photography (1985) and Why People Photograph (1996), which make strong arguments for conservative and human approaches to making photography.


His photographs appear in the collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Princeton University Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

Adams received a B.A. (1959) from the University of Redlands and Ph.D. (1965) from the University of Southern California.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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