I very rarely buy books by photographers, although I think that the book is the natural format for showing a body of work I can rarely justify the cost of these beautiful, but often costly items. The ones I do own are purchases that I have thought about over and over before actually taking the item to the till. Recently I bought a book that I never thought I would own, but thankfully earlier this year it was reissued and is available online for a very reasonable price. Robert Adams’ The New West was originally published in 1974 and documents the changes in the landscape that Adams could see as the American West was slowly covered in tract housing and shopping malls.
I remember being introduced to the photographs of Robert Adams at University and I was attracted by his sparse and subtle images that seemed a refreshing change to the dramatic American landscapes like the ones made by his namesake Ansel Adams. These photographs of building sites, drive-ins, new houses and scrub-land showed a place in unavoidable flux, brought on by the the nations continued prosperity and wealth.
Now that we seem to finally taking more notice of our effect on the environment the photographs in The New West seem even more poignant than when they were originally published.