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What We Bought: The New World, Scenes from the Denver Metropolitan Area, 1970–1974

Robert Adams

2009 Nominated as Best Artist Photobook, International Photobook Festival

… [a] solid and deeply affecting book. —Ken Grant, Foto8

The photographs, taken together, are a small masterpiece of both intellect and vision. —Robert Moeller, Afterimage (reviewing denver and What We Bought)

denver and What We Bought, together with The New West, form a loose trilogy of Robert Adams’s work exploring the rapidly developing landscape of the Denver metropolitan area from 1968 through 1974. In the former two books, Adams (born 1937) created a comprehensive document that was resolute in its avoidance of romantic notions of the American West and dispassionately honest about man’s despoliation of the land. Both books demonstrate the artist at the height of his powers as a documentary photographer and a poetic sequencer of images.

The photographs featured in denver and What We Bought show tract housing with mountain ranges in the distance, trailer lots devoid of people, suburban streets through generic windows, shopping mall interiors, and parking lots: subjects distinctly unspectacular, familiar, and banal. Adams’s compositions are straightforward and democratic, and it is this precise turn from sentimentality that has made Adams one of the most influential figures in the history of American photography.

These exquisite new editions, printed in rich tritones, celebrate this landmark work. denver also includes new and previously unpublished photographs from the project, chosen and sequenced by Adams himself.

208 pages / 9 x 7 13/16 inches / 193 tritone illustrations / Distributed by Yale University Press / 2009
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-300-14963-0
    Item# 181
    Price $60; Members $48

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