Robert Adams
[Photographer and writer, b. 1937, Orange, New Jersey, lives in Astoria, Oregon.]

 The suburban West is, from a moral perspective, depressing evidence that we have misused our freedom. There is, however, another aspect to the landscape, an unexpected glory. Over the cheap tracts and littered arroyos one sometimes sees a light as clean as that recorded by O'Sullivan. Since it owes nothing to our care, it is an assurance; beauty is final. 
 Nature photography… that acknowledges what is wrong, is admittedly sometimes hard to bear—it has to encompass our mistakes. Yet in the long run, it is important; in order to endure our age of apocalypse, we have to be reconciled not only to avalanche and hurricane, but to ourselves. 
 Lewis Hine said he hoped to show what was wrong so that we would try to change it, and what was right so we could take comfort in it. I don’t often achieve that, but the two goals seem appropriate to me. 
 The operating principle that seems to work best is to go to the landscape that frightens you the most and take pictures until you’re not scared anymore. (1982) 
 For a shot to be good—suggestive of more than just what it is—it has to come perilously near to being bad, just a view of stuff. (1970) 
 Many have asked, pointing incredulously toward a sweep of tract homes and billboards, why picture that? The question sounds simple, but it implies a difficult issue—why open our eyes anywhere but in undamaged places like national parks? 
 The job of the photographer, in my view, is not to catalogue indisputable fact but to try to be coherent about intuition and hope. 
 …talking about pictures as though you could tell anybody how to take good ones is nuts. Pictures are given, not taken. 
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