At Matthew Marks, Robert Adams Gives Us a Car’s-Eye View of America

THE DAILY PIC: His night shot reflects our automotive vision.


© Robert Adams, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

THE DAILY PIC (#1455): The great photographer Robert Adams took this shot in about 1980, in Longmont, Colorado, and it’s now in a group show at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York. Its strange bright lighting, at night, suggests to me that it was taken by what you could call “car-light”, a very special, very modern illumination coming from the automobile that led Adams to the house.

The image is in obvious tension with the most famous night-view in American photography, by that other great Adams, Ansel: His Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, from 1941, seems to show a totally un-technologized side of the country. Or maybe not: As I once argued, Moonrise is in fact every bit as much about technology as the Robert Adams shot, but it’s still in the closet about it.

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