The Hasselblad Foundation’s international prize for “major photographic achievements” for 2009 has been awarded to one of today’s most important and most influential photographers, Robert Adams from the USA. With great awareness and profound commitment Adams shows the beautiful and hopeful aspects of a landscape scarred by humanity, and the way that it adapts to new circumstances. As a result of Adams’ meticulous compositions and conscious treatment of light, the pictures radiate an exquisite visual poetry. Adams’ early pictures from Colorado, in The New West and Denver, trace the rapid growth of the population and its aftermath, with freeways, new houses and shopping malls, telephone poles and billboards, open-air movie theatres, etc. A compassionate series in the spirit of street photography is Our Lives and Our Children, in which people who live close to a nuclear-weapons plant are portrayed without their knowledge in shopping malls and on the street. In the series Prairie, Colorado, Clearcuts, Tree Line, Clatsop Beach and The Northwest Coast Adams has become increasingly subtle in his documentation, concentrating on trees and bushes, clear-cut areas, along with more open landscapes and the ocean. Even if Adams’ pictures are of the American West and its distinctive nature, culture and lands- cape, his life’s work exists on a general scale, and is in fact, global. The pictures open our eyes to the landscape around us, regardless of where we are. Adams’ photographs bear witness to his
sincere interest in and concern for the landscape that he has seen, and his ability to visualise and immortalise it.
For the award events, the book Robert Adams, Tree Line – Hasselblad Award 2009 has been produced in co-operation with Steidl Verlag, Göttingen. In this book 57 new pictures, taken in Oregon between 1999 and 2003, are displayed.