152MC – Robert Adams: Turning Back

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In my inspirational pack I got at the start of this module, I got given this picture by Robert Adams. The picture is of a Sitka Spruce tree that is situated in Cape Blanco State Park, Curry County, Oregon. I didn’t think this picture would come in useful for my project but, when researching into this picture and where it comes from, it’s a picture from a series of beautiful images. This picture is one of many pictures from Robert Adam’s body of work, ‘Turning Back’.

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‘As a photographer Robert Adams loves trees more than people, and old trees most of all. “Cottonwoods” (1994), one of more than 30 books of thematic photographic essays he has published, is devoted to the defense of one beloved species. “Agribusiness now wages war on cottonwoods,” Mr. Adams wrote, “because the trees compete for water, and suburban developers replace them with conveniently small but ecologically disruptive species like Russian olive.” Images in the exhibition from his book “Turning Back” (2005) document the effects of clearcutting by the logging industry in Oregon. Many of them suggest the aftermath of a terrific explosion. “Is there a relationship,” Mr. Adams asks, “between clearcutting and war, the landscape of one being in some respects like the landscape of the other? Does clearcutting originate in disrespect? Does it teach violence? Does it contribute to nihilism?” Elsewhere he declaims, “All that is clear is the perfection of what we were given, the unworthiness of our response, and the certainty, in view of our current deprivation, that we are judged.The severity of his own judgment is relieved to a degree by one of his recurring motifs: the image of a rural road stretching from the foreground to the distant horizon. “Sally, Weld County, Colorado” (1984) has in it something that, curiously, occurs rarely in his pictures: an animal. Specifically, it is a dog. It pauses on a dirt road perhaps 10 yards away, looking back over its shoulder as if to invite us to follow and to wonder: “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” The end, after all, remains for all of us to determine.’

This image reminds me of some of my images that I took from Somerset. I want to take some more rural images as this is something I’ve never done before. However, when I was in Somerset I loved the experience. So I’m going to keep rural photographs in mind when I am going to take pictures of my daily life.