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

 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? 
 …talking about pictures as though you could tell anybody how to take good ones is nuts. Pictures are given, not taken. 
 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. 
 Many photographers in fact remind me in temperament of Thomas Hart Benton; in addition to painting, he said, what he liked was to “drink whiskey and talk big.” 
 The final strength in really great photographs is that they suggest more than just what they show literally. 
 With a camera, one has to love individual cases. 
 Invention in photography is so laborious as to be in most instances perverse. 
 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. 
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