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April 16, 2009

Robert Adams Wins the 2009 Hasselblad Foundation Award

The photographer Robert Adams has won the 2009 Hasselblad Foundadion Award today.

Robert Adams follows in a truly great tradition of Art photography excellence by winning this award. The past winners of this prestigious Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography have included Graciela Iterbide 2008, Nan Goldin 2007, Lee Friedlander 2005, Jeff Wall 2002, Cindy Sherman 1999, William Eggleston 1998, Robert Frank 1996, and Susan Meiselas 1994 just to name drop a few.

Robert_Adams_newwest_bookFrom the Hasselblad website... The Award in Photography is an award granted to "a photographer recognized for major achievements".

Robert Adams, is probably most well know for his "quiet" photos of the terriblly ugly new suburban American West.  In his landmark 1974 book, The New West, with forward by MOMA curator John Szarkowski, Adams captured the rapidly changing face of American at a critical point in this Nations history.

(Photo #1, Book Cover of : Robert Adams, The New West, 1974, Colorado University Press) Here's a note from the Books publisher..

The New West can be accounted as one of the outstanding works of artistic photography since 1945. This series of 56 pictures stands in the tradition of such projects as Walker Evans' American Photographs (1938) and Robert Frank's The Americans (1958). The wide open spaces of the American West have all but disappeared. Robert Adam's legendary book The New West tells of what has taken their place: the destruction of a once grandiose landscape by settlement which imposed highways, cheap housing developments and the vacuous chaos of advertising signs in the cities." 

Our sincere MAO congrats to Robert Adams.

Here's a story posted by Niklas Magnusson of Bloomberg News


Robert Adams, U.S. Photographer, Wins $61,000 Hasselblad Award
2009-04-15 10:10:08.508 GMT

By Niklas Magnusson
     April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Robert Adams, the U.S. photographer
known for his images of the American west, has won the 2009
Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.
     Adams, who is based in Astoria, Oregon, received the
500,000 kronor ($61,000) prize at a ceremony in San Francisco
yesterday, the foundation -- which is based in Gothenburg,
Sweden -- said in an e-mailed statement issued today. It
described Adams as “one of the most important and influential
photographers of the last 40 years.”
     “During that time, he has worked almost exclusively in the
American West, and, as photography has altered and fragmented,
he has refined and reaffirmed its inherent language, adapting
the legacies of 19th-century and modernist photography to his
own very singular purpose,” the foundation said.
     Victor Hasselblad, whose cameras were used for the stills
taken by astronaut Neil Armstrong during his 1969 lunar landing,
donated 78 million kronor in his will for research in the
natural sciences and photography. Victor’s wife Erna started the
foundation in 1979, a year after his death. Last year’s winner
was Graciela Iturbide, while Nan Goldin won in 2007.

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--Editors: Farah Nayeri, Mark Beech.


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I think that the Hasselblad Foundation really hit the nail on the head with this one, so to speak. Robert Adams' work to me is simple genius. Capturing the changing face of the American west is basically illustrating that the frontier really has been tamed and the west is definitely no longer wild. MAO's comment about the "ugly" suburbs of the west is rather true, in my opinion, but the Adams is able to shoot it makes it seem quaint and polite. He takes beautiful pictures of an ugly subject to be blunt. I hate the idea of suburbs and named communities, like "Deer Crossing" or whatever anyways, but that would be another post all together. I do wonder why can't we leave any part of this country to Mother Nature? I mean a suburb in the desert? Really?

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