E-Journal für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte
Freytag, Philipp

Eden revisitedDas Bild des US-amerikanischen Westens in frühen Fotografien von Robert Adams

In 1968 Robert Adams (*1937) dedicated a small, relatively unknown group of work to a remote, entirely mundane place with a highly evocative name: Eden, Colorado, a small spot along the interstate 25, about forty miles south from Colorado Springs, consisting of little more than the Westland Truck Stop. With his photo book of the same name, the photographer elaborates many characteristics of his most famous The New West (1974) and his other work about the Colorado Front Range, popularly represented in the seminal exhibition New Topographics. Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape (George Eastman House, Rochester, N. Y., 1975). Virtually in nuce, Eden reveals Adams’s typical use of the square format as well as his mastery of the various artistic potentials of the photographic book. With his calm and silent images of Eden, Robert Adams positions himself literally crosswise to the countless contemporary views through the windshields and into the diners, celebrating speed, color and popular culture, at the same time denying notions of a frontier just sweeping across the manifold regions of the American West. Instead, he focuses on the identity of this particular place and the natural order of this once sublime landscape, reading its present-day appearance as a metaphor of the highly ambivalent "New West".

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