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Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid opens major retrospective of the work by Robert Adams
Joshua Chuang, curator of US photographer Robert Adams photo exhibition poses for photographers during the press presentation of the exhibition at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid on January 15, 2013. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET.
MADRID (AFP).- A major retrospective of works by US photographer Robert Adams, who has focused on the changing landscape of the American West, opens Wednesday in Madrid.

The exhibition at the Reina Sofia museum features nearly 300 black and white photos taken between 1964 and 2008 that depict empty highways, solitary buildings, tree stumps, half-built suburban developments and telephone polls.

"I believe this is the largest exhibition of his works ever held in Europe," exhibition curator Joshua Chuang said during a preview of the show on Tuesday.

"What we hope is that Robert Adams' work does speak to European audiences. While he made pictures of specific geographies in America, of geographies that are local to him, geographies that he has called home, he has found elements in them that speak universally to landscapes around the world."

The exhibition begins with his early pictures of solitary buildings in Colorado and ends with more recent images of tree stumps and birds in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

They include some of his most well known works such as a photo taken in 1968 depicting the silhouette of a woman standing in the window of her suburban Colorado Springs home.

While the house is in the shade, the front lawn basks in bright sunshine.

"In this one picture you get the sense of beauty and despair. What makes his works iconic are their ability to depict both disappointment and hope," said Chuang.

The photographs are small, about 15 centimetres by 15 centimetres (six inches by six inches), and they are set in white frames.

Those on display are drawn from the Yale University Art Gallery’s master sets of the photographer’s work.

Madrid is the first stop in Europe for the exhibition, called "Robert Adams: The Place We Live", which is on a nine city tour that began in Vancouver, Canada in September 2010.

After it wraps up in Madrid on May 20, the retrospective will travel to Bottrop in Germany, Paris, London and Winterthur in Switzerland.

Born in Orange, New Jersey in 1937, Adams grew up in Colorado. He took up photography in the 1960s in an attempt to capture the rapid changes to the landscape which he was witnessing in Denver, where he lived at the time.

© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

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