CollectionTalk: Los Angeles Spring
Sheldon Museum of Art’s CollectionTalk on February 24, 2022, featured a discussion with Toby Jurovics and Mark Ruwedel about “Los Angeles Spring,” a series of photographs by Robert Adams. Toby Jurovics is founding director of the Barry Lopez Foundation for Art & Environment in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mark Ruwedel is an artist who has photographed American deserts and other remote locations for more than twenty-five years.
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[00:00:08.813]And thank you all for being here.
[00:00:10.090]I'm Laura Reznicek, and I'm delighted to welcome you
[00:00:13.300]to Sheldon Museum of Art's.
[00:00:15.312]Collectiontalk event tonight
[00:00:17.240]with Toby Jurovics and Mark Ruwedel.
[00:00:20.250]Before we get started,
[00:00:21.210]I want to extend a couple notes of appreciation.
[00:00:24.820]The first is to those of you here tonight
[00:00:26.740]who are Sheldon members, your support
[00:00:29.360]makes this event possible and events like this.
[00:00:33.335]And it also helps keep the museum running day to day.
[00:00:35.700]So thank you very much for your membership support.
[00:00:39.400]I do wanna invite you to two upcoming collectiontalk events.
[00:00:44.210]On March 24th, we're going to be having a conversation
[00:00:47.370]with artist Mel Chin, and on April 28th,
[00:00:51.690]artist Amanda Ross-Ho.
[00:00:53.710]Sheldon has recent acquisitions from each of these artists
[00:00:57.240]and we expect these will be very dynamic conversations.
[00:01:01.940]So please look into those.
[00:01:04.850]The conversation tonight focuses on "Los Angeles Spring"
[00:01:08.710]a series of photographs by Robert Adams.
[00:01:11.610]Two images from the suite are recent acquisitions
[00:01:14.390]that are currently on view at Sheldon
[00:01:16.660]in the exhibition "Photography from the Collection."
[00:01:20.190]And I'd like to thank those exhibition sponsors,
[00:01:23.390]Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment,
[00:01:26.260]and Sheldon Art Association.
[00:01:29.460]We would love for you to engage with tonight's guests
[00:01:32.520]and the conversation between the two of them.
[00:01:35.360]So while you will be muted at the beginning,
[00:01:37.840]please use the chat box to type questions or comments
[00:01:41.690]as we go along.
[00:01:43.160]And then there will be some time at the end
[00:01:45.130]for you to unmute yourself and ask questions directly.
[00:01:49.600]And now I'm gonna turn it over to Wally Mason,
[00:01:52.230]Sheldon's Director and Chief Curator
[00:01:54.320]who will introduce Mark and Toby.
[00:01:57.670]Good evening, everyone.
[00:01:59.010]It's my pleasure to be able to sit tonight
[00:02:02.340]with two people that I think the world of.
[00:02:06.180]And it's perfect that the subject matter
[00:02:10.720]for the the evening is Robert Adams' photographs.
[00:02:15.570]Aaron, can we go one more slide?
[00:02:17.770]It's appropriate because two of the works
[00:02:22.850]that we're going to talk about tonight
[00:02:25.160]are recent acquisitions.
[00:02:26.700]And in this case, it's the two bottom ones
[00:02:28.850]from the series "Los Angeles Springs."
[00:02:32.330]The two top images are here
[00:02:36.870]solely because we had made a commitment
[00:02:39.180]to Robert Adams' work back as early as 1977.
[00:02:46.330]And these are two from the series, "The New West."
[00:02:49.040]They are, I don't know.
[00:02:52.210]Of course you'd expect me to say
[00:02:53.800]that these are my favorite "New West" pictures,
[00:02:56.680]and the two below, the recent acquisitions,
[00:03:01.040]are two of my favorite,
[00:03:02.900]if not the favorite images from "Los Angeles Spring."
[00:03:06.790]But when the museum in October of '21
[00:03:11.170]was thinking about acquiring
[00:03:13.190]the two photographs in the bottom,
[00:03:16.460]the first person I called was Toby Jurovics
[00:03:19.510]because I not only trust his eye,
[00:03:21.890]but he's an expert on landscape photography,
[00:03:24.840]landscape photography in the west, and Robert Adams.
[00:03:28.470]So it seems appropriate, or maybe it's comeuppance
[00:03:31.630]that he advised me to go forward and acquire these pictures.
[00:03:36.150]And now he's been placed in the situation tonight
[00:03:39.070]to have to talk about them.
[00:03:40.770]So with that said,
[00:03:42.770]let me just briefly introduce both individuals.
[00:03:46.700]Toby Jurovics is the Founding Director
[00:03:48.910]of the Barry Lopez Foundation for Art & Environment
[00:03:52.160]in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
[00:03:54.000]He was the Chief Curator and Curator of American Western Art
[00:03:58.400]at Jocelyn Art Museum from 2011 to 2020.
[00:04:03.390]Prior to this, he was a Curator of Photography
[00:04:05.910]at Smithsonian American Art Museum
[00:04:08.900]and Princeton University Art Museum.
[00:04:11.850]An expert on 19th and 20th century
[00:04:14.270]American landscape photography,
[00:04:16.380]he has curated over 50 monographic and group exhibitions
[00:04:19.790]of photography, painting, works on paper, and new media.
[00:04:24.310]And published on Thomas Joshua Cooper, Steve Fitch,
[00:04:28.380]John Gossage, Timothy H. O'Sullivan,
[00:04:31.560]and the New Topographics.
[00:04:34.250]Mr. Jurovics holds a BA in Art History and English
[00:04:38.210]from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
[00:04:41.270]and an MA in Art History from University of Delaware.
[00:04:45.520]Joining him tonight is Mark Ruwedel.
[00:04:48.260]Mark Ruwedel is a photographer
[00:04:50.050]who resides in Long Beach, California.
[00:04:53.710]I seem to want to collect his work at each museum
[00:04:58.130]where I work, and the Sheldon's no different.
[00:05:02.370]We own 20 works by Mark Ruwedel.
[00:05:05.320]And as part of the exhibition,
[00:05:08.480]what you saw in the previous slide,
[00:05:12.570]we have 12 works up from his series,
[00:05:14.487]"Westward the Course of Empire."
[00:05:17.400]Mark Ruwedel received his MFA from Concordia University
[00:05:20.900]in Montreal in 1983.
[00:05:23.450]He taught there from 1984 to 2001, and he recently retired
[00:05:28.910]and is now Professor Emeritus
[00:05:31.080]at California State University Long Beach.
[00:05:34.600]He received major grants from the
[00:05:36.060]Canada Council for the Arts in 1999 and 2001.
[00:05:40.760]And in 2014 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship
[00:05:45.630]and the Scotiabank Photography Award.
[00:05:49.670]He is represented in such coveted collections
[00:05:52.700]as the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Art Museum,
[00:05:56.430]Metropolitan Museum of Art, BL Art Gallery, Tate Modern,
[00:06:02.800]pretty much every art museum that makes a difference
[00:06:07.260]whether it's on this continent or others.
[00:06:10.950]Again, 12 of his pictures are up currently
[00:06:14.620]and it's my pleasure to hand the program over
[00:06:17.720]to Toby and Mark.
[00:06:19.670]And we'll hope that you'll have questions during the event
[00:06:24.860]or after they complete.
[00:06:28.110]Thank you, and Toby and Mark, it's yours.
[00:06:33.320]Well, thanks for that very generous introduction,
[00:06:37.290]and welcome everybody.
[00:06:41.790]When Wally reached out to me couple months ago
[00:06:47.170]about these two pictures, and he said, you know,
[00:06:50.750]we talked about them a bit.
[00:06:52.094]And he said, well, which one should I buy?
[00:06:53.280]And I said, you should buy both of them.
[00:06:56.520]And he listened to me, and let's actually,
[00:07:01.610]let's go back to that, to the previous slide there
[00:07:04.340]so we can talk about those a bit in context.
[00:07:09.880]And Mark asked me just to introduce a little bit
[00:07:14.390]about our relationships with Mr. Adams.
[00:07:20.610]That was so formal with Bob.
[00:07:24.420]You know, I've known him a little over 20, 25 years,
[00:07:31.240]and I grew up in Los Angeles.
[00:07:34.830]And those two pictures, "Redlands" 1983
[00:07:40.980]and "Highland, California" were made the year
[00:07:42.930]I graduated from high school.
[00:07:44.750]And when I look at them, I mean,
[00:07:46.950]they're incredibly comforting to me
[00:07:48.600]because that's exactly what the sky
[00:07:51.360]in the San Fernando Valley looked like
[00:07:53.650]throughout my entire childhood.
[00:08:00.900]But at the same time,
[00:08:02.400]the sort of work that the photographs
[00:08:05.170]that I was raised on, sort of culturally,
[00:08:08.020]were very different.
[00:08:08.853]They were worked by Ansel Adams.
[00:08:11.430]And, you know, like every kid in California,
[00:08:12.730]I grew up going to the mountains,
[00:08:14.210]and, you know, you buy the big coffee table books,
[00:08:16.650]and you're looking at these, you know,
[00:08:18.820]the sort of mountain glory pictures,
[00:08:21.280]and Bob's work suddenly something very different.
[00:08:24.310]And that photograph on the top right there,
[00:08:30.157]"Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs," 1970.
[00:08:33.680]I think that sums up as well as any single image
[00:08:38.900]what this great shift in landscape photography was
[00:08:43.720]primarily driven by Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Frank Gohlke,
[00:08:48.620]and this group of photographers that we know
[00:08:50.240]as the New Topographics.
[00:08:52.810]And this was named after an exhibition in 1975,
[00:08:56.910]but I had an exhibition of Bob's work up,
[00:09:02.923]it would be late '90s when I was working at Princeton.
[00:09:05.470]And I came in, you know, kind of after lunch
[00:09:08.950]and listened to people walking around
[00:09:11.420]and what they were thinking of the show.
[00:09:13.330]And this person said, if he just moved to the right,
[00:09:15.800]the house would've been out of the way,
[00:09:17.400]and he could have taken a picture of the mountain.
[00:09:20.040]And, you know, sort of that's when I thought I have,
[00:09:23.382]you know, I have failed.
[00:09:25.620]But what's great about this, you know,
[00:09:26.977]"Pike's Peak" is this sort of,
[00:09:30.390]in the sort of Western narrative, this historic landmark,
[00:09:33.680]and he's got it practically obscured
[00:09:35.940]by the gas station and the Frontier sign,
[00:09:39.020]which is sort of truncated to suggest like, you know,
[00:09:41.770]the west ends now.
[00:09:46.000]And it's, you know, sort of the last thing you'd want to,
[00:09:48.360]the last thing you'd want to look at,
[00:09:51.282]but what he does with this and something
[00:09:52.930]that he continues in the "LA Spring" pictures
[00:09:55.050]is you have this really spectacularly beautiful light
[00:09:58.830]in all of his prints.
[00:10:00.300]And so you've got this glow
[00:10:01.740]coming from the fluorescent lights over the pumps,
[00:10:04.690]and then the sun going down behind the mountain,
[00:10:06.560]and kind of filling the sky almost like a luminous painting.
[00:10:10.440]And so what you see in Bob's work,
[00:10:12.550]is this kind of constant tension
[00:10:14.930]between these very difficult subjects
[00:10:17.700]and how the work is sort of physically made.
[00:10:21.240]And I'll let Mark maybe talk about that a little more.
[00:10:24.390]Mark and I met, I just took a look at this, back in 1999.
[00:10:31.047]And Mark is one of, I'll just embarrass him here,
[00:10:35.510]one of the most important
[00:10:39.220]contemporary American landscape photographers
[00:10:41.260]and somebody whose work really manages
[00:10:42.910]to sort of bridge this conversation
[00:10:44.590]between the 19th and the 21st century.
[00:10:47.880]And in the work, we wanna show
[00:10:53.050]the installation here of one of the grids of Mark's work.
[00:11:01.900]This is actually the work that
[00:11:03.020]how we first got to know each other.
[00:11:04.540]This is from the series, "Westward the Course of Empire,"
[00:11:07.660]and these are all photographs
[00:11:09.860]of railroad cuts from the 19th century.
[00:11:13.037]And the track has subsequently
[00:11:14.570]been pulled up and away from them,
[00:11:17.220]but you have these sort of very graphic, topographic forms.
[00:11:24.650]They relate to the way that Timothy O'Sullivan
[00:11:26.610]made photographs in the 19th century,
[00:11:29.150]but really about this tension
[00:11:30.440]between the built and the natural environment.
[00:11:33.070]And, you know, one of the things that really appealed to me
[00:11:38.140]about Mark's work is that he is, and it's very, you know,
[00:11:41.820]it's hard to see on a PowerPoint, but Mark prints in a way
[00:11:45.460]that I think is very close to Bob's.
[00:11:47.890]In that in terms of that kind of the expressiveness
[00:11:49.840]and the warmth of his prints,
[00:11:53.810]and Mark, maybe I'll let you talk a little bit about,
[00:11:58.050]start with this series and about how you kinda
[00:12:00.300]first came to know Bob.
[00:12:03.760]Okay, yeah, so I'll go back quite a ways.
[00:12:09.480]I mean, I tried to piece this together and, you know,
[00:12:11.960]looking backwards that I didn't study photography
[00:12:16.010]formally there, I was a painting student,
[00:12:19.840]but there was two photo classes,
[00:12:21.760]which is where I first got interested in.
[00:12:23.890]There was a, somewhere in there
[00:12:25.270]was a lecture about new documentary photography.
[00:12:28.220]And this was a class that only had maybe two or three,
[00:12:32.070]sort of theoretical or historical lectures
[00:12:34.170]in the entire semester, but there was a couple pictures
[00:12:36.860]from Bob and Lewis Baltz,
[00:12:39.727]and I of course completely forgot about them.
[00:12:41.870]But as a graduate student,
[00:12:43.120]I started making pictures along the St. Lawrence River.
[00:12:45.440]And some of my colleagues would say,
[00:12:47.600]oh, that's New Topographics work.
[00:12:49.600]And so that's when I started learning,
[00:12:51.640]I was prompted to learn about this stuff.
[00:12:53.320]So I had sort of maybe subconsciously absorbed the lesson,
[00:12:59.020]or at least a lesson of Baltz, Adams, and company.
[00:13:05.910]If we jump ahead, I also want to say
[00:13:08.350]that I've known Robert Adams almost as long as,
[00:13:11.490]or maybe even longer than Toby.
[00:13:13.440]We met through a mutual friend and I visited him
[00:13:17.243]when he lived in Colorado and later in Oregon,
[00:13:23.110]he graciously wrote one or two letters of reference
[00:13:29.062]for when I applied unsuccessfully
[00:13:30.820]for the Guggenheim a couple times.
[00:13:34.142]And so that's, you know, so I, and in fact,
[00:13:36.180]we talked on the phone last week
[00:13:37.720]about something somewhat trivial, but fun to talk about.
[00:13:41.770]This series, what Toby didn't say,
[00:13:46.120]and of course you can't see it of course, in the slide form
[00:13:49.340]is that each of these mounted prints
[00:13:51.550]has the name of the railroad.
[00:13:52.980]In this case, Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek
[00:13:56.140]printed on the mount, hand printed in pencil.
[00:13:58.950]And that was a really important component of this work,
[00:14:02.690]'cause I wanted to allude to the kind of,
[00:14:05.530]this tremendous economic engine of imperialism
[00:14:09.970]that just, you know, drove west in all directions,
[00:14:14.490]in the United States and Canada as well.
[00:14:17.440]And so that was an interest of mine,
[00:14:19.690]as was this idea of earth work.
[00:14:23.450]'Cause I, you know, some of my early heroes as artists
[00:14:27.150]were people like Michael Heizer and Robert Smithson.
[00:14:30.240]In fact, my first photographs of the railroad cuts
[00:14:32.510]were actually made for a completely different project.
[00:14:34.720]But when I made the prints back in Montreal,
[00:14:38.330]they reminded me of photographs I had made
[00:14:40.200]of Heizer's "Double Negative."
[00:14:41.560]And that started me thinking about this,
[00:14:43.520]as well as this kinda, you know, there's also the,
[00:14:46.470]obviously this influence of the German components
[00:14:49.900]of the Topographics work,
[00:14:51.160]which would Bernd and Hilla Becher
[00:14:52.830]and their gridded displays of industrial forms
[00:14:57.100]mostly in Europe, but also in the United States,
[00:14:58.970]so there's that.
[00:15:01.070]And just for folks that haven't seen it,
[00:15:03.810]Michael Heizer's "Double Negative," it's sort of a sculpture
[00:15:06.910]cut into sort of opposite sides of a mesa.
[00:15:10.310]And he basically used the bulldozer to make a road cut
[00:15:13.890]with perfectly vertical sides,
[00:15:17.410]sort of facing each other across this, you know,
[00:15:20.810]across this chasm.
[00:15:22.580]And it's one of the really great
[00:15:25.350]contemporary sculptural works in the west.
[00:15:28.290]So that in, you know, in a kind of comparison
[00:15:31.600]with "Spiral Jetty" of kind of that importance.
[00:15:36.972]But again, that kind of tension
[00:15:39.860]between the natural landscape and something industrial
[00:15:43.370]or if you wanna put it in, you know, Imperial that way.
[00:15:47.160]Yeah, in fact, when I first showed some of these pictures
[00:15:50.386]to friends and colleagues and that,
[00:15:53.230]there was a kind of
[00:15:55.190]it wasn't that clear.
[00:15:56.690]Oh, thank you, that's perfect.
[00:16:00.550]The funny thing about this, the "Double Negative,"
[00:16:03.110]now I'm going off track here, but that's okay.
[00:16:05.730]Is that, you know, I had a kinda really cocky
[00:16:08.170]graduate student once who said,
[00:16:10.265]you know, oh Michael Heizer,
[00:16:11.270]that's all about aerial photography.
[00:16:12.970]I said, well, that's 'cause you'd never been there.
[00:16:14.890]You know, and this stuff is really about, you know,
[00:16:19.330]phenomenal, it's phenomenologically a base.
[00:16:23.420]To really understand the work, you have to stand in that cut
[00:16:26.980]and you look across this great abyss,
[00:16:29.020]and what you're looking at is basically
[00:16:31.220]a mirror image of where you're standing,
[00:16:32.610]except you're not there.
[00:16:34.290]And when you go into the cut, of course,
[00:16:36.660]you're going through time in reverse through all the strata,
[00:16:39.480]you know, that's visible in the sides of the cut,
[00:16:43.170]regardless, so where was I?
[00:16:47.550]Yeah, so this idea that of, you know,
[00:16:49.263]when I started making these cut pictures,
[00:16:51.640]it wasn't clear to some people that
[00:16:54.410]it was a technological intervention in the Earth.
[00:16:59.070]It wasn't a natural phenomenon and that.
[00:17:01.167]And that kinda really intrigued me.
[00:17:03.020]And I think those kinds of, those kinds of paradoxes
[00:17:08.240]that have always interested me in my work,
[00:17:12.420]not more so than in my recent work on Los Angeles,
[00:17:15.387]and landscapes in Los Angeles.
[00:17:17.830]I wanted to say one thing about my experience
[00:17:20.360]of "Los Angeles Spring" in particular, in that, you know,
[00:17:26.310]once I sort of discovered the work of Adams
[00:17:29.560]and other like-minded photographers of that generation,
[00:17:32.600]I got really excited and interested in them.
[00:17:35.190]And that actually led me back to learn more about, you know,
[00:17:38.990]people like Timothy O'Sullivan and so on.
[00:17:42.530]One of my favorite bodies of work by Adams
[00:17:45.310]was in fact "Los Angeles Spring."
[00:17:47.240]But of course I only knew it through the Aperture book.
[00:17:51.950]And then there was a day in,
[00:17:55.480]I was in New York, I don't even remember why,
[00:17:57.960]and I just randomly went into a bunch of galleries.
[00:18:01.589]And one of them had two bodies of work by Robert Adams,
[00:18:03.600]and one of them was "Los Angeles Spring."
[00:18:05.710]And up to that point, my understanding of those pictures
[00:18:10.240]was pretty much structural,
[00:18:12.930]but it turned out to be because of really bad reproduction.
[00:18:16.950]And when I saw the prints,
[00:18:17.970]I realized that they were really incredibly atmospheric.
[00:18:21.900]And of course, Bob was photographing
[00:18:24.540]in sort of the glory days of Los Angeles smog.
[00:18:27.760]I mean, it's actually the, I mean,
[00:18:28.970]it's one of the only places in America
[00:18:30.350]where the air has gotten better in the last couple decades.
[00:18:35.000]But so that was really, I also seem,
[00:18:39.850]I also think, I know Bob's, you know,
[00:18:41.760]he's a very careful technician and that,
[00:18:44.360]and this is probably just my bias,
[00:18:46.470]but I think it's his most wonderfully printed work as well.
[00:18:51.190]I mean, it just appeals to, the kind of warmthness
[00:18:54.430]and the attention,
[00:18:55.976]because unlike the earlier work, which we just saw,
[00:18:58.400]those two pictures of, it's very atmospheric.
[00:19:02.510]You know, Los Angeles doesn't have that brittle,
[00:19:06.360]high country sky that he photographed
[00:19:08.820]earlier in his career in Colorado.
[00:19:11.310]And even his work across the US in Nebraska,
[00:19:15.310]for example, along the Platte,
[00:19:18.610]this is a very different kind of light.
[00:19:20.810]And the first couple years when I,
[00:19:23.880]I moved to Los Angeles or Long Beach in 2002,
[00:19:29.586]and I was still photographing a lot in the desert.
[00:19:32.300]So I'd get up in the morning and drive east
[00:19:34.580]off and on the Interstate 10.
[00:19:37.020]And the, you know, as the morning fogs lifted and that
[00:19:40.610]it was sometimes like driving through Bob's work.
[00:19:47.855]Well since we have.
[00:19:49.895]I was gonna say something about that,
[00:19:52.159]but wanted to defer to you as the printer,
[00:19:57.070]but I completely agree that that it's, you know, to me,
[00:20:00.820]this is when sort of Bob hit his peak
[00:20:03.310]as a a photographic printer.
[00:20:05.400]And one of the, you know,
[00:20:06.760]just to kind of put things in context,
[00:20:10.660]those early photographs we were looking at from Colorado,
[00:20:15.320]those were about six by six inches square.
[00:20:19.660]And when, you know, the "LA Spring" prints are 16 by 20.
[00:20:25.970]And in the, you know, when they were made in the early 80s,
[00:20:29.710]that was a big photograph.
[00:20:33.300]You know, this idea of this sort of four by, you know,
[00:20:36.020]four by six foot print,
[00:20:38.810]didn't come along until really until the end of that decade.
[00:20:42.980]And to me looking at them, I mean,
[00:20:46.610]I felt like he understood that in order to get
[00:20:49.010]that kind of expressiveness from it,
[00:20:50.580]he had to be making a bigger, you know,
[00:20:53.840]he kind of needed more real estate on the page,
[00:20:57.550]but you can see what you pointed to that shift
[00:21:00.580]between the cool and the warm toned paper.
[00:21:03.910]And it was like that Portriga was just made to,
[00:21:06.560]kind of it was made to photograph smog.
[00:21:10.400]And it reminds me of something
[00:21:12.220]that there was an interview with Louis Baltz,
[00:21:16.160]who again, photographed in the early seventies
[00:21:20.186]in Los Angeles at the same time Bob was working.
[00:21:25.100]And he said, you know, people look at my work and they say,
[00:21:28.697]you know, basically why is he photographing junk?
[00:21:32.350]And then they, you know, if they realize
[00:21:34.860]they look at how beautiful the print is, and they think,
[00:21:37.170]well, if you went to that kind of effort
[00:21:40.400]to make it this beautiful,
[00:21:42.120]or to make an object this beautiful,
[00:21:43.520]there must be something worth caring about in the picture.
[00:21:47.730]And I think that Bob, you know,
[00:21:51.100]works in exactly the same way.
[00:21:53.540]And that idea, I think he would almost,
[00:21:55.940]I don't know if it's exact kind of word he would use,
[00:21:57.880]but it's a way to sort of honor what the subject is.
[00:22:01.980]And, you know, I think that just speaking
[00:22:06.790]from the sort of curatorial perspective, you know,
[00:22:10.690]doing an installation with that work in it,
[00:22:13.599]and it was the same show I mentioned where this, you know,
[00:22:15.130]the person walks in and said, oh, he just needs to get the,
[00:22:17.778]you know, house out of the way.
[00:22:18.950]There was one wall of "LA Spring" prints.
[00:22:21.320]And that's what everybody gravitated towards.
[00:22:24.460]That they were that, even though, you know,
[00:22:26.870]they're not exactly, I mean,
[00:22:28.230]there's nothing romantic at all about them.
[00:22:30.780]There's something about the way he's printing
[00:22:33.230]that was tremendously effective in that.
[00:22:36.240]And I think it's that sort of bringing that
[00:22:38.332]kind of emotional quality to the work.
[00:22:43.050]You know, I mean, when we put this PowerPoint together
[00:22:45.960]for this, when I sort of edited or amended it,
[00:22:50.440]I just somewhat randomly chose
[00:22:53.460]eight or 10 of my own recent landscapes in Los Angeles,
[00:22:57.010]but then I inserted them
[00:22:59.070]in different parts of the Robert Adams sequence.
[00:23:02.860]And it was kind of, it was kind of interesting,
[00:23:05.520]I think not, I mean, not consciously,
[00:23:08.520]but in some ways his work haunts my work.
[00:23:11.910]There's some, you know, even like locations and that.
[00:23:15.560]I've photographed a lot in the same areas that,
[00:23:19.703]you know, not literally the same spot, but the same say,
[00:23:22.780]you know, Inland Empire areas and that.
[00:23:25.937]And of course, there was one thing I wanted to point out
[00:23:27.980]that I think as somebody who lives here, and Toby,
[00:23:30.780]you might find this amusing as well,
[00:23:32.260]the work's called "Los Angeles Spring,"
[00:23:35.510]but almost none of those photographs
[00:23:37.370]were made in Los Angeles.
[00:23:40.693]You know, they're all made in Redlands, Rialto, Fontana,
[00:23:45.081]and then weirdly two in Long Beach.
[00:23:47.390]You know, so.
[00:23:49.843]And one in Westchester, and I recently asked him,
[00:23:53.660]like, how on Earth did you end up in Westchester?
[00:23:56.810]He ignored that question, so we still don't know.
[00:24:00.600]And he, you know, anyway,
[00:24:04.000]and so I chose these pictures of mine that in fact,
[00:24:07.440]I had some sort of relationship, not to his picture,
[00:24:11.780]but maybe to his travels or his journey.
[00:24:14.970]Like I know there's pictures
[00:24:16.590]in his project of the Santa Ana Wash, for example,
[00:24:19.990]we just saw one of that paint-splattered boulder.
[00:24:24.260]My interest in the Santa Ana Wash
[00:24:27.480]was because there had been a fire there
[00:24:30.070]and I've become a, that's sort of like a sort of thematic
[00:24:33.815]in my own epic photographic
[00:24:38.100]sort of exploration of the Los Angeles Basin,
[00:24:40.610]is 'cause fire, I mean,
[00:24:43.080]fire is both something that's, you know,
[00:24:45.170]part of the ecology of this part of the world.
[00:24:47.580]But of course, you know,
[00:24:48.640]every year they get the fire season,
[00:24:51.300]I think quotation marks gets longer
[00:24:53.417]and the fires get bigger.
[00:24:55.433]And so there's, again, there's that kind of,
[00:25:00.750]I don't know if paradox
[00:25:02.260]is the most accurate way of saying it, but you know,
[00:25:05.560]something that is both sort of natural
[00:25:09.000]and completely altered by human activity in that,
[00:25:14.917]in a not very pleasant manner, so.
[00:25:20.450]Oh, I think.
[00:25:22.347]It's easy when we talk about Robert Adams
[00:25:25.390]that to kind of get into this
[00:25:26.720]really depressing spiral of doom.
[00:25:30.070]Well, I was about to say that the difference
[00:25:32.520]between the work is maybe that we're, you know,
[00:25:36.360]we're sort of 40 years closer to the apocalypse now.
[00:25:41.779]And I'll just read this, I had this quote here
[00:25:47.930]and this is something that, so, you know,
[00:25:50.660]after Bob had made those little square pictures in Colorado,
[00:25:55.720]he said that, he said, you know,
[00:25:58.650]he kind of lost his way in the suburbs
[00:26:00.640]and he wanted to go out
[00:26:01.710]and rediscover the sort of land forms of the west.
[00:26:04.150]And what had informed, you know, his predecessors
[00:26:08.410]both as photographers and his family.
[00:26:11.540]And he ended up getting a little depressed by it.
[00:26:15.660]So here's what he writes, he said,
[00:26:18.737]"where else has a region of more than a million square miles
[00:26:22.020]been so damaged in so short a time.
[00:26:25.470]We catch ourselves thinking in the bitterness
[00:26:27.530]that can accompany the unexpected sound
[00:26:29.760]of an aluminum can bending underfoot,
[00:26:32.580]that it would've been merciful if Columbus had been wrong
[00:26:35.430]and the world flat with an edge from which to fall,
[00:26:38.910]rather than a circular cage that returns us to our mistakes.
[00:26:42.730]The geography seems hopeless."
[00:26:47.300]Well, thanks for that Toby.
[00:26:49.663]Right, yeah, and now in person, Bob's a very cheery guy,
[00:26:53.180]so it's not, but I think that, you know, to me,
[00:26:58.100]and I've not talked about him,
[00:27:00.630]talked to him about this directly,
[00:27:01.910]but the project had been working on right before this
[00:27:06.380]was called "From the Missouri West,"
[00:27:08.470]and then immediately afterwards, it's "Los Angeles Spring."
[00:27:11.207]And it seems to me like he hit the coast,
[00:27:13.750]and he just, you know, he suddenly began to concentrate
[00:27:16.610]on these photographs, and they're made
[00:27:20.160]with the bigger camera that he'd been using.
[00:27:21.960]And again, we mentioned that these were larger prints,
[00:27:24.010]but I think he saw this as,
[00:27:30.280]I won't say, you know, not quite apocalyptic
[00:27:33.350]because I think at least 40 years ago, Bob always had,
[00:27:39.207]there was always some kind of hope
[00:27:40.300]buried underneath all of these pictures.
[00:27:43.616]And he does tend to, you know,
[00:27:44.560]he does kind of talk about things in these rather,
[00:27:49.600]I think biblical is a fair way to put it, kind of terms,
[00:27:53.980]but when he talks about the individual images,
[00:27:56.590]he always brings up that idea of,
[00:27:58.230]where, you know, you've got this,
[00:27:59.817]the sort of bottom half of the picture is really grim,
[00:28:02.310]but you have all this incredible light in the top half.
[00:28:04.550]And he was really trying to balance that sense.
[00:28:09.260]And I think, you know, give you the possibility
[00:28:11.890]of hope or redemption.
[00:28:14.060]I've gotta say, you know,
[00:28:14.893]when I first saw this recent work of Mark's
[00:28:17.340]and I think I sent you an email that said, you know,
[00:28:19.740]congratulations, you've, you know, made, you know,
[00:28:22.760]made "Los Angeles Spring," look like a, you know,
[00:28:25.310]a cheery holiday card.
[00:28:32.370]Well, I made, actually, I jokingly told this to Bob,
[00:28:38.300]and with the idea that it would never be public,
[00:28:42.030]but I'm gonna say it anyway.
[00:28:44.396]I jokingly referred to my project as "Los Angeles Autumn."
[00:28:50.549]And, you know, the thing is I didn't,
[00:28:55.040]I've been working on this cycle of landscape photographs
[00:28:58.820]of Los Angeles Basin for about five, six years now.
[00:29:01.647]And I didn't set out to address his work in any way,
[00:29:05.090]but that work is, you know, one of the histories
[00:29:09.438]that I carry with me when I go to photograph, you know,
[00:29:13.070]if we go back to the railroad there's different particulars,
[00:29:16.010]but it's the same idea is that my knowledge of a place
[00:29:19.630]includes the previous art made about the place and that.
[00:29:23.297]And so I can't unlearn this stuff when I'm photographing,
[00:29:28.740]and it's probably later in choosing images to print and,
[00:29:32.530]you know, sequencing and all that other
[00:29:33.930]kinda post photographing activity
[00:29:38.510]is when I see these things, you know, like this picture,
[00:29:42.340]I mean, this is another one of my favorites.
[00:29:43.890]He does this kind of amazing sort of line of trees
[00:29:46.960]in that work, you know, many times over,
[00:29:50.830]but I've photographed quite a bit in San Timoteo Canyon
[00:29:54.590]in the last couple years, well there you go.
[00:29:58.720]But you know, he's looking down on it, of course,
[00:30:01.220]I'm kind of down at the bottom there.
[00:30:04.010]It's just the really, it's one of those, that road,
[00:30:08.690]you know, it leads from the orchard country
[00:30:11.300]of say Redlands, Rialto, Loma Linda, et cetera,
[00:30:14.270]not Rialto, but Highland, excuse me, it leads to the desert.
[00:30:18.090]So it's this, the road itself
[00:30:21.480]sort of exemplifies this kinda transition
[00:30:23.770]from basin to desert that I'm really interested in.
[00:30:29.500]Joan Didion referred to those, that the Inland Empire,
[00:30:33.100]as you know, haunted by the Mojave.
[00:30:36.390]She had the kind of haunted, right,
[00:30:39.000]I mean, she got the desert wrong.
[00:30:40.490]It's the Lower Colorado, not the Mojave
[00:30:42.570]that haunts the Inland Empire,
[00:30:44.130]but nonetheless, and, you know,
[00:30:46.970]I've been photographing a lot in the orchard country,
[00:30:52.350]these orchards are being bulldozed, you know,
[00:30:54.400]pretty much faster than I can photograph them.
[00:30:56.697]And in their place are these giant,
[00:30:59.050]sort of mile long warehouses, I mean, just, I mean,
[00:31:03.080]it's amazing how much storage
[00:31:04.560]we need for all this stuff being made.
[00:31:06.356]And, you know, it's of course this kinda horrible feeling
[00:31:10.930]that, you know, the orchard landscape's
[00:31:14.000]disappearing under the bulldozer.
[00:31:16.400]But last winter, I read this book "Trees of Paradise"
[00:31:18.980]and the orchard industry itself is a kind of,
[00:31:21.640]was an ecological nightmare, you know?
[00:31:24.400]So again, there's that kind of, you know, we long,
[00:31:28.120]and all these beautiful trees, the eucalyptus and that,
[00:31:30.640]which is an invasive plant from Australia and New Zealand,
[00:31:34.352]you know, what are you gonna do?
[00:31:36.660]I'm surprised that there are any orchards left.
[00:31:42.270]And I, you know, I'm sure that
[00:31:43.740]most people listening have seen Chinatown.
[00:31:48.110]And, you know, that was really the story of, you know,
[00:31:50.290]what happened in the San Fernando Valley.
[00:31:52.610]And they brought all this water, you know,
[00:31:54.281]down from the Owens Valley
[00:31:55.740]and suddenly they planted orchards.
[00:31:58.210]And then in the fifties, they bulldozed them
[00:32:00.710]and put up, you know, tract homes.
[00:32:03.750]Like where you grew up.
[00:32:05.021]Yeah, but, you know,
[00:32:06.530]we had one orange tree and one grapefruit tree, you know,
[00:32:12.210]on either side of the driveway.
[00:32:13.900]So, you know, they left a little bit around
[00:32:16.210]to kind of remind you of that.
[00:32:18.060]But the thing that, I guess neither of us mentioned is that,
[00:32:23.523]you know, Bob was born in New Jersey,
[00:32:24.850]but he spent most of his childhood in California.
[00:32:27.344]He went to graduate school in Redlands.
[00:32:33.170]And, you know, he has a, Bob had a PhD in English
[00:32:38.920]and he said, you know, he returned to Colorado after that.
[00:32:42.200]And that's when he saw all of this
[00:32:43.740]kind of suburban development happening
[00:32:45.270]along the front range of the Rocky Mountains.
[00:32:48.750]And then he goes back to California after that.
[00:32:51.800]And what he, that kind of last bit of, you know,
[00:32:57.240]what he says here, "Southern California is
[00:33:01.900]by the reports of those who lived there
[00:33:03.720]at the turn of the century, beautiful."
[00:33:05.910]And he goes on and talking about, you know,
[00:33:07.500]the ornamental cypress and eucalyptus, and you know, now,
[00:33:11.127]and it gets grim again.
[00:33:12.830]Now, all we know is that, you know, we are judged.
[00:33:16.510]But it was like, he'd seen two different landscapes
[00:33:18.900]that he'd lived in destroyed within this very short,
[00:33:22.400]you know, within this kind of decade.
[00:33:25.647]And I mean, again, I think about
[00:33:29.720]that kind of agricultural landscape of the valley
[00:33:33.550]is something that was certainly gone by the sixties.
[00:33:37.040]So I'm surprised that there are even any orchards left.
[00:33:40.410]Yeah, we wanna pause for one second
[00:33:44.350]and ask a Zoom question.
[00:33:45.959]Are people seeing me when I speak, because I'm not.
[00:33:50.690]Can Aaron, Aaron or somebody?
[00:33:52.290]Yes, we can see you.
[00:33:54.140]Okay, okay, I just,
[00:33:55.043]because I thought this is really weird.
[00:33:56.900]I don't, and, you know, I was wondering if I could,
[00:33:58.720]you know, pick my nose or something, but I guess not, okay.
[00:34:01.770]You can, but we'll see you.
[00:34:03.524](laughs) Okay, okay.
[00:34:05.669]The orchard thing is really fascinating,
[00:34:09.510]'cause it turns, you know, in this book I read,
[00:34:13.260]there was a period when the use of smudge pots to,
[00:34:18.310]you know, to combat the frost in the winter,
[00:34:23.005]it created so much smoke
[00:34:24.820]that it closed Los Angeles Harbor occasionally.
[00:34:28.330]I mean, so this is, you know,
[00:34:29.900]that's like worse than a, you know,
[00:34:31.710]thousands of diesel trucks,
[00:34:33.030]which occasionally sort of cast a pall over where I live
[00:34:36.560]coming out of the same harbor.
[00:34:39.590]So there's nothing really benign about the citrus industry.
[00:34:43.129]But and, Toby, there are in fact still producing orchards.
[00:34:47.960]It's just fewer, fewer, and fewer.
[00:34:49.740]And I mean, I still, there's this little,
[00:34:52.820]the last town before you go up into the mountains,
[00:34:56.160]sort of east of Redlands is a little place called Mentone
[00:34:59.907]and there's still really healthy looking orchards there.
[00:35:04.480]In fact, I always stop and buy a big bag of oranges
[00:35:06.790]when I'm out photographing that way.
[00:35:08.080]But I mean, I'm interested
[00:35:15.509]in that really short space
[00:35:17.220]between the healthy orchard and the warehouse.
[00:35:21.150]And I guess, you know, I think that one of the things
[00:35:24.265]that Bob Adams said that really stuck for me,
[00:35:28.430]and I don't remember where or when he said this or why,
[00:35:31.500]but he said, we want from photographs,
[00:35:34.010]so we want the daily news,
[00:35:35.860]but we also want history and prophecy,
[00:35:39.270]and that, I think sums up a lot of what I'm asking
[00:35:43.570]of my own work, you know, the daily news,
[00:35:46.740]but prophecy as well, and maybe metaphor thrown in,
[00:35:49.680]if I can be a little presumptuous.
[00:35:52.570]This is a, this particular picture is a remnant wetland.
[00:35:56.340]And if people are trying to put all this stuff together
[00:36:00.210]in some sort of coherency,
[00:36:03.380]I'm gonna really briefly sketch out the project, my project,
[00:36:07.200]which is called "Los Angeles Landscapes of Four Ecologies,"
[00:36:10.640]which is a nod to an architectural history of Los Angeles
[00:36:14.070]by the British critic, Reyner Banham.
[00:36:17.350]Which he wrote a really important book
[00:36:19.420]called "Architecture of Four Ecologies."
[00:36:22.120]So in brief, the four parts of my project
[00:36:28.240]are the river systems within the Los Angeles Basin.
[00:36:32.010]And I heard on the radio not too long ago,
[00:36:34.980]that one in four Angelinos don't even know
[00:36:36.780]there is a river in Los Angeles, but in fact there is.
[00:36:40.680]And in fact it's the river, Los Angeles River
[00:36:43.700]is why Los Angeles is where it is,
[00:36:45.340]which is kind of interesting in and of itself.
[00:36:47.270]Part two is the coastal regions,
[00:36:49.980]which includes remnant wetlands and so on, like that,
[00:36:55.330]that's from part one, the river.
[00:36:57.060]Part three are the hills and the canyons,
[00:37:00.690]which bisect the basin.
[00:37:02.470]In part four, I've sort of already discussed briefly,
[00:37:06.080]which is this kinda haunted by the desert,
[00:37:10.250]to paraphrase Joan Didion.
[00:37:12.760]This transition zone from what is basically
[00:37:15.070]a Mediterranean climate of the basin
[00:37:16.870]to the harsher climate of the desert
[00:37:18.980]and the orchard sort of fits right on that border.
[00:37:24.400]And this bring the, I mean,
[00:37:25.800]I'm not gonna speculate as to why, but to my knowledge,
[00:37:28.520]Robert Adams never made a color picture in his life.
[00:37:31.390]So, back to you, Toby.
[00:37:34.070]I don't get, only on his iPhone.
[00:37:37.540]Does he have an iPhone?
[00:37:40.250]No. I didn't think so, he such a Luddite.
[00:37:42.308]He has a landline.
[00:37:46.210]I mean, just thinking about the LA River,
[00:37:48.470]and I think everybody has seen it without realizing,
[00:37:51.950]and it's where, you know.
[00:37:52.950]Without water in it, too.
[00:37:54.183]They use it for car chases because it's been paved.
[00:37:58.330]There's this really terrific, do you guys know
[00:38:00.790]the 1950s science fiction movie "Them,"
[00:38:03.130]which is where the giant ants attack Los Angeles?
[00:38:05.720]Do you know that Toby?
[00:38:06.870]it's really terrific.
I haven't seen it, no.
[00:38:08.541]Okay, so the real,
[00:38:11.330]the big climax is in in fact,
[00:38:13.290]the concrete basin of the Los Angeles River,
[00:38:15.590]the concrete chute, if you will,
[00:38:18.300]but they're trying to, the police and the army,
[00:38:22.180]they're interviewing this drunk who lives in the river,
[00:38:28.060]he's in the hospital, 'cause he's been attacked
[00:38:29.670]by one of these giant ants
[00:38:31.460]and in the middle of his delirium,
[00:38:33.250]he says, "I've seen it with water in it."
[00:38:38.390]So, meaning the river.
[00:38:40.910]Before we wrap up, I wanted, could we go back to that,
[00:38:46.200]there's a print of Bob's there, "La Loma Hills, " it's,
[00:39:01.590]we're getting there.
[00:39:03.130]There we go.
[00:39:04.520]Oops, we just shot past it.
[00:39:06.911]Ooh, oh I see oh.
[00:39:14.740]There we go.
[00:39:16.190]So one thing that I think that you and Bob both do
[00:39:21.070]is kind of pull the 19th century forward into your work.
[00:39:27.236]And now that I realize we can pull things up on Google,
[00:39:32.860]Aaron, if you could Google
[00:39:34.630]Timothy O'Sullivan Karnak, K-A-R-N-A-K.
[00:39:40.600]You know, we're all pretty familiar with,
[00:39:47.660]well, now you know, there are all kinds of books
[00:39:50.220]on all kinds of 19th century American photographers.
[00:39:53.120]And you can, that first,
[00:39:57.220]that picture in the upper left corner.
[00:40:01.540]You know, you can find anything online in two seconds
[00:40:04.800]and there are books for everything,
[00:40:06.720]and in the '70s and '80s, when Bob was starting,
[00:40:10.190]very little was published.
[00:40:12.380]You certainly, you know, if you would,
[00:40:17.780]you'd have to go find a book in the library,
[00:40:21.420]that kind of thing.
[00:40:22.253]And O'Sullivan hadn't really been paid much attention to
[00:40:26.070]since the 1870s, and it was our colleague Edward Ranney,
[00:40:30.467]and he used that phrase to me, he said,
[00:40:32.150]Bob pulled a O'Sullivan forward for the rest of us.
[00:40:34.520]And what it is is he went to the Denver Public Library
[00:40:37.690]and he found a box of prints.
[00:40:40.460]And, you know, and I think,
[00:40:43.210]it wasn't matted or anything like that.
[00:40:44.690]They were just sort of thrown into this,
[00:40:46.810]you know, cardboard box.
[00:40:48.870]And Bob was the first person, I think in terms
[00:40:51.290]of at least who photographers read,
[00:40:52.540]who really wrote about O'Sullivan's work.
[00:40:56.350]And one of the things that that O'Sullivan does a lot
[00:41:00.140]is this, you can see in this image here
[00:41:01.710]where he tilts the camera
[00:41:03.460]to give you this sort of sense of instability.
[00:41:05.740]So if you, you know,
[00:41:06.573]you follow that ridge line down towards the horizon,
[00:41:10.050]and then you realize that everything
[00:41:11.640]kind of flips back in the other direction,
[00:41:15.160]and O'Sullivan was doing it to sort of promote this idea
[00:41:20.735]about catastrophism, which was the survey leader,
[00:41:24.660]Geographic Survey Leader, Clarence King
[00:41:26.350]believed that the world was sort of formed by these huge,
[00:41:29.190]you know, eruptions of volcanic action and things like that.
[00:41:31.880]And then everything calmed down for 10,000 years,
[00:41:33.820]and it all blew up again.
[00:41:35.510]And so he's making these pictures
[00:41:36.940]that show this kind of instability.
[00:41:39.130]And I've always been kind of surprised
[00:41:41.850]that Bob does that too.
[00:41:42.960]So going back to that previous image
[00:41:46.010]where all of a sudden he flips the, you know,
[00:41:48.796]and he kind of turns the camera on its side
[00:41:51.700]and you get that same sort of sense
[00:41:55.550]where here's the edge of the,
[00:41:56.980]you see the edge of the, it's not really a cliff there,
[00:42:01.460]but you know, on the left hand side
[00:42:04.060]and then that whole horizon is bent, is kind of bent over.
[00:42:08.640]And I don't know if you agree or disagree with that,
[00:42:11.640]but it seems like he's really using
[00:42:13.350]these kind of 19th century formal cues.
[00:42:17.260]I have no idea what he's thinking about, but you know,
[00:42:21.500]the evidence is in the pictures, you know?
[00:42:26.020]I was gonna respond with an anecdote that, you know,
[00:42:30.660]thinking about that,
[00:42:31.990]every time I look at the book "Los Angeles Spring,"
[00:42:34.650]and in fact there's a much better printed,
[00:42:36.400]newer version of it available now.
[00:42:38.020]But I think about, you know, these tilted horizon pictures,
[00:42:42.300]and when I was photographing in the Verdugo Mountains
[00:42:46.032]above Burbank after the fires,
[00:42:51.040]I actually tried this and it was unacceptable to me.
[00:42:56.721]I mean, not his pictures, but I just,
[00:43:00.376]I couldn't abide by it.
[00:43:02.550]I needed to have, 'cause for me,
[00:43:06.140]that tilt in my picture, not his,
[00:43:10.490]that tilt became the kinda meaning of the picture
[00:43:14.170]rather than the light and the burnt land.
[00:43:17.930]That sort of overrode
[00:43:20.460]the material stuff I was photographing.
[00:43:22.740]So, but I mean,
[00:43:25.274]I look at these pictures and I get it, but I prefer,
[00:43:30.950]like one of, the second of the two pictures
[00:43:33.630]that the Sheldon just acquired is my favorite picture
[00:43:37.210]in that entire body of work.
[00:43:38.600]And there's a kind of instability there
[00:43:41.420]without tilting the horizon that I'm much more attracted to.
[00:43:45.300]The instability there is not so much
[00:43:48.080]the photographer's doing, but rather
[00:43:49.610]the photographer's recognition
[00:43:51.660]of what others have done to that space.
[00:43:54.560]And that to me is just a lot more,
[00:43:56.890]both interesting and rewarding as somebody
[00:43:59.140]who's looking at a picture and thinking about, you know,
[00:44:01.377]what kind of meaning does this carry
[00:44:03.490]besides aesthetic pleasure?
[00:44:05.090]You know, not that it's not there as well, okay.
[00:44:09.580]So I wanted to tell a really quick little story,
[00:44:13.500]my story about Robert Adams and the library,
[00:44:15.860]and that is we go back to my graduate student days.
[00:44:21.030]You know, after this kind of initial recognition
[00:44:24.420]of, you know, the importance of these pictures,
[00:44:27.490]to what I was somewhat naively doing myself,
[00:44:30.350]I would go to the library and look for books
[00:44:33.107]by Robert Adams and so on and so forth.
[00:44:35.320]And I remember discovering that "The New West"
[00:44:39.520]was in the section of Art Photography,
[00:44:43.120]but "Denver" was in the section of Books on Colorado.
[00:44:49.070]And then I sort of pursued that a bit further.
[00:44:50.920]And if we, if you know, Edward Ruscha's
[00:44:52.580]little photo books from the sixties
[00:44:55.577]"Twentysix Gasoline Stations" was under Art,
[00:44:59.900]but "Thirtyfour Parking Lots"
[00:45:01.210]was under the History of Transportation.
[00:45:04.158]And this was hilarious to me.
[00:45:06.254]And at the same time in the Canadian magazine "Parachute,"
[00:45:10.030]I read this essay by, is it Douglas Crimp, I think
[00:45:13.680]called "The library's old, the museum's new subject."
[00:45:16.260]And it was all about how that was all changing,
[00:45:19.040]that books and photographs, 'cause you mentioned,
[00:45:22.860]Bob finding these photographs in the library
[00:45:25.160]were because of the market influence, pressures, et cetera,
[00:45:29.100]and other things, academically,
[00:45:32.610]photographs were now being categorized
[00:45:34.800]under the author of the picture
[00:45:36.160]rather than the subject of the picture.
[00:45:38.140]And that's just, I don't know what it has to do with Bob,
[00:45:40.780]that's really interesting to me though, you know.
[00:45:42.940]Well, I actually, I have a funny,
[00:45:44.820]I have a sort of a funny story from Bob.
[00:45:49.250]I don't think he'd mind me telling it,
[00:45:50.750]and then maybe we could take a,
[00:45:51.760]if there are a couple questions we could.
[00:45:53.840]And so those, he said that he was, you know,
[00:45:57.630]driving around with his wife Kerstin and they stopped at a,
[00:46:02.057]it was a little garage sale and he found two picture frames
[00:46:06.140]and they were $10 each, and he asked the guy,
[00:46:11.290]well, what about the photographs in the frames?
[00:46:13.350]He goes, oh, you can have those, they're not worth anything.
[00:46:15.730]And they were two of Bob's pictures.
[00:46:17.801]Oh God, well, oh.
[00:46:21.480]It depends on, you know,
[00:46:24.031]who's cataloging the book or who organized the garage sale.
[00:46:30.080]Right, well, you know, I mean,
[00:46:33.840]we're getting kind of like two old men telling stories here,
[00:46:37.250]but I, a couple years ago I bought my stolen Linhof on eBay.
[00:46:49.130]I'd like to congratulate Wally on his exquisite taste,
[00:46:53.780]these are two of my favorite pictures, you know.
[00:46:58.060]That's pretty good too, you know.
[00:47:02.053]That has, okay Toby, that has some of the instability
[00:47:05.120]without the tilted horizon that I was trying to talk about
[00:47:07.333]with the previous picture.
[00:47:08.900]You know, like the way that that.
[00:47:10.381]There's a sort of sense of things,
[00:47:12.800]things that are sort of, I mean, there's the, you know,
[00:47:15.800]the suburb in that gives an illusion of control,
[00:47:18.170]but there's something in this picture that suggests
[00:47:20.280]that there's some forces that are not so controllable.
[00:47:25.880]Well, and I don't know that you would agree
[00:47:29.260]with this necessarily, I think that my reading of this
[00:47:32.050]can sometimes be a little more romantic,
[00:47:33.820]but that it's almost this like gesture of mourning
[00:47:37.700]from that branch that.
[00:47:44.620]You know, a couple, maybe two or three years ago,
[00:47:47.770]I was asked to write about something
[00:47:49.990]in the Pier 24 Photographic Collection.
[00:47:52.610]And I chose a composite work by Lewis Baltz.
[00:47:56.064]And somewhere in there I wrote that, you know,
[00:47:59.330]his pictures of eucalyptus could not be more different
[00:48:02.140]than those of Robert Adams, you know, because Baltz is,
[00:48:05.260]there's nothing romantic at all in what he's done,
[00:48:09.050]you know, and superficially,
[00:48:10.670]these two artists are often linked together
[00:48:13.390]and for historically, you know, valid purposes,
[00:48:16.180]but it looked at it in a different,
[00:48:18.650]from a different direction, they couldn't be more different.
[00:48:21.616]Well, and you know, it's funny because,
[00:48:23.040]so I think a lot of people listening,
[00:48:26.350]know the Bemis Center, and I don't know, 8, 10 years ago,
[00:48:30.210]they asked a bunch of people to come in
[00:48:31.670]and speak one minute on their favorite photograph.
[00:48:34.080]And this was the picture that I'd selected, so.
[00:48:38.497]Wally, you got both of our favorite,
[00:48:41.860]both of our favorite Robert Adams prints in there.
[00:48:44.250]Yeah, make sure they're caulked to the wall.
[00:48:47.340]Toby, Mark, can we go back to,
[00:48:50.030]when you were talking about the O'Sullivan
[00:48:52.750]and you were mentioning the term tilt,
[00:48:56.240]I'm not sure that all of our audience understood
[00:48:59.500]what you meant by that, because then Mark went on
[00:49:02.380]and talked about the idea that he couldn't use
[00:49:05.690]that technique or the means
[00:49:10.630]to tilt the camera in such a way.
[00:49:12.650]I think maybe it's not clear that that the.
[00:49:16.560]Well I would.
What that means.
[00:49:19.840]Most easily, you know,
[00:49:21.610]when you're setting up the camera, you know,
[00:49:27.160]try to set the frame level to the horizon.
[00:49:31.980]And if you really uninteresting,
[00:49:34.300]you put the horizon right in the middle,
I do that, Toby.
[00:49:39.933]I do that often.
[00:49:45.283]But in the 19, so O'Sullivan takes the frame
[00:49:48.470]and he tilts it at an angle.
[00:49:51.320]And, you know, one of the, when we were at the Smithsonian,
[00:49:56.670]we worked with a number of people
[00:49:57.880]on a Timothy O'Sullivan exhibition.
[00:50:00.350]And there was a group of pictures
[00:50:01.880]that we were trying to figure out,
[00:50:03.250]they'd been misattributed and who, you know,
[00:50:06.380]who made them, and was it AJ Russell?
[00:50:08.400]Or was it O'Sullivan?
[00:50:09.320]And our friend Glenn Willemsen said,
[00:50:11.140]you know, Russell was too lazy to ever do anything,
[00:50:14.470]but leave the camera straight on the tripod,
[00:50:16.390]and he would never have done,
[00:50:17.760]would've done something like that.
[00:50:19.910]But he also came from a background as a topographic painter.
[00:50:23.040]So that idea that, you know,
[00:50:24.910]everything had to be sort of level and laid out,
[00:50:29.810]you know, sort of straight to the horizon made sense.
[00:50:32.740]But I think what O'Sullivan clearly does,
[00:50:37.117]and it's really only through other photographers
[00:50:40.010]who've gone there, in particular Rick Dingus,
[00:50:41.880]who kind of rephotographed some of these sites
[00:50:44.250]and you realize to make the picture,
[00:50:46.010]you've suddenly gotta shift the camera like this
[00:50:48.060]to have it make, you know, to have it match.
[00:50:50.900]And I can't think of another 19th century photographer
[00:50:54.840]who was doing that.
[00:50:57.740]You know, in a more contemporary mode of thinking
[00:51:02.680]the level horizon seems somehow more objective
[00:51:05.750]and more, almost scientific because it,
[00:51:09.110]when you tilt, it's like all of a sudden,
[00:51:13.080]you're more aware that a person is making a decision.
[00:51:17.700]It's less neutral as a point of view, or has the appearance.
[00:51:21.480]I mean, obviously, I mean, we could go on and on about the,
[00:51:25.010]you know, all the subjectivity of every photograph,
[00:51:29.180]but that kind of subjectivity is much more obvious
[00:51:33.640]when you do things that, because in fact,
[00:51:36.269]these tilted horizon pictures are the equivalent
[00:51:38.900]of standing there and looking at what's in front of you
[00:51:43.140]with your head cocked.
[00:51:46.034]Know what I mean?
[00:51:47.730]So, and just a little technical note that, you know,
[00:51:52.680]Bob and O'Sullivan and my, well less so myself,
[00:51:56.660]but to some degree,
[00:51:58.180]we're all using what are known as view cameras.
[00:52:00.280]And I don't think O'Sullivan's camera had this,
[00:52:02.460]but modern view cameras usually
[00:52:04.840]have a spirit level mounted on the top of it.
[00:52:07.710]Okay, so there's this kind of encouragement built in from,
[00:52:12.780]I mean, right from the industry, you know,
[00:52:13.948]photographic equipment and materials and that,
[00:52:19.160]Hollis Frampton said that they're industrial necessities
[00:52:22.440]masquerading as cultural preferences,
[00:52:26.180]this is why every photograph is the same proportions.
[00:52:31.190]Do you think we should take some questions if there's any?
[00:52:41.890]I don't know how we do that, I'm waiting.
[00:52:44.200]I've got one here, does Bob mention Carleton Watkins?
[00:52:53.159]Bob, not that I can think of other than in passing.
[00:52:55.780]I mean, the photographer that he really wrote the most about
[00:53:00.820]was O'Sullivan, and he mentions AJ Russell
[00:53:04.640]who photographed for Union Pacific,
[00:53:07.520]and William Henry Jackson who was in Colorado.
[00:53:12.050]But I think that Bob was really looking at
[00:53:17.450]that kind of anti-romantic vision.
[00:53:20.600]And when he talks about O'Sullivan, you know,
[00:53:25.300]he says that what he figured out how to do
[00:53:27.180]was photograph all that kind of empty space in the middle.
[00:53:30.150]So not what you would,
[00:53:34.870]I guess you could say, like,
[00:53:35.960]not what you would consider distance, but volume.
[00:53:38.590]So, you know, not what the mountains are in the back,
[00:53:41.270]but what's all that stuff.
[00:53:43.100]And, you know, thinking in particular about
[00:53:44.970]like the photographs he was making in the desert in Utah,
[00:53:47.160]where there's just nothing out there.
[00:53:50.170]And so I think Bob was really drawn to pictures
[00:53:52.980]that I guess you would say are more astringent.
[00:53:57.650]And part of what that also has to do with,
[00:54:00.780]was Watkins was in general, working for a client
[00:54:04.766]who was gonna want something that was more appealing.
[00:54:06.800]I mean, they were kind of, you know,
[00:54:07.940]he was more of a commercial photographer in that way
[00:54:11.240]and O'Sullivan was working for a geologist.
[00:54:14.240]And so they were able to produce,
[00:54:16.490]they needed to produce very different kinds of images.
[00:54:26.650]Yeah, nothing to add to that.
[00:54:29.677]But I was just thinking, no, I was,
[00:54:31.270]what I was thinking about was, you know,
[00:54:33.080]O'Sullivan versus Watkins.
[00:54:36.277]And that, for me, that's like,
[00:54:37.610]that's thinking about how they similar
[00:54:41.500]and radically different is the same way I think about say,
[00:54:45.490]Bob and Lewis Baltz,
[00:54:49.937]or Baltz and Adams are like my Rauschenberg and Johns,
[00:54:52.080]you know, superficially like really similar.
[00:54:55.450]And you can say, you know, historically
[00:54:57.230]they're paired together in all kinds of account,
[00:55:00.280]historical accounts and critical arguments and that,
[00:55:03.460]but the more you get to know their work,
[00:55:06.270]the more you understand
[00:55:07.180]how completely different they are as artists and that,
[00:55:10.445]and the same with most of the New Topographics.
[00:55:12.950]I mean, it's not like there was a club, you know,
[00:55:15.540]like a curator sort of drew this work together,
[00:55:18.550]'cause he saw something interesting
[00:55:20.120]that was going on at the moment.
[00:55:21.810]And then, you know, in retrospect they become this kind of,
[00:55:25.100]you know, the New Topographics Club where they, you know,
[00:55:27.540]they meet every two weeks and bowl or something,
[00:55:29.470]I don't know or, you know,
[00:55:33.280]and I, you know, when I was teaching,
[00:55:35.530]I would use those kind of pairings
[00:55:38.400]to kinda talk about how, you know,
[00:55:41.580]Walker Evans and Dorothea Lang, is another, you know,
[00:55:44.900]there's just, you know,
[00:55:46.940]because of the historical moment and that
[00:55:48.890]there's things you could say
[00:55:51.170]that their work shares in common,
[00:55:52.420]but the differences are much more interesting, you know.
[00:55:59.100]Another, are the questions written or spoken?
[00:56:04.890]Well, we have one now.
[00:56:13.402]Does somebody wanna, here we.
[00:56:17.717]Would you like me to read the question?
[00:56:18.660]Yeah, Wally, why don't you do that?
[00:56:21.386]Okay, in Ruwedel's photos, no matter what,
[00:56:22.880]they have a pentimento to it, not in physical strokes,
[00:56:27.570]but in the changes of the landscape.
[00:56:29.283]Does the passage of time influence
[00:56:31.350]how you capture landscapes,
[00:56:33.150]or is it just a different way to look at your work?
[00:56:37.440]I'm not sure what a pentimento is.
[00:56:44.390]Could that be something like a palimpsest?
[00:56:47.780]You know like a, we.
[00:56:49.210]We could ask this person to unmute themself and explain.
[00:56:54.790]Yeah, that would be easier, I think.
[00:56:57.047]Hello, I asked a question, can you hear me?
[00:57:01.909]Okay, so I'm in a drawing class,
[00:57:03.430]and I just recently learned this word.
[00:57:05.470]So like when you do a figure drawing, right.
[00:57:07.550]You start with like a gesture and then you erase it
[00:57:10.420]and then refine the figure.
[00:57:12.040]So like pentimento is like the evidence
[00:57:14.190]of that, like change in the drawing.
[00:57:15.873]Oh, I see, I see.
[00:57:17.510]I being a little fancy.
[00:57:19.200]Okay, I don't think you, I mean, that's.
[00:57:20.575]Photographers, you know, they really
[00:57:22.027]just don't know that much about art history,
[00:57:23.360]no matter what they tell you, they just don't.
[00:57:29.690]The fundamental difference between a painting, drawing,
[00:57:32.970]and all those other things and a photograph
[00:57:35.090]is the image in a photograph,
[00:57:36.240]the image is made all at once simultaneously.
[00:57:39.060]So there's no trace of, there's no underpainting,
[00:57:44.220]there's no erasure, and so those kind of analogies
[00:57:48.220]are really difficult to sustain.
[00:57:52.600]But I think in terms of the landscape
[00:57:56.080]there's something there, because I think,
[00:57:57.890]and that's, I guess that is something
[00:58:01.370]I'm really interested in that we see these,
[00:58:04.500]we see a kind of, there's a kind of evidence of a history,
[00:58:08.720]that both the kind of a natural history and a human history,
[00:58:13.550]you know, in other words, you know,
[00:58:18.020]both forces have agency and we,
[00:58:21.567]and there's kind of evidence of that history
[00:58:26.060]that's visible to some degree.
[00:58:27.570]And that's really, that's really interesting to me, I think.
[00:58:33.280]And then there's of course also really interesting histories
[00:58:35.720]that you can't photograph that I'm interested in.
[00:58:38.747]And that's why books are really important to me,
[00:58:41.860]like that photograph of the dead eucalyptus,
[00:58:46.540]that was titled "Bolsa Chica" number so and so and so and so
[00:58:51.890]that site in the turn of the 20th century,
[00:58:56.579]it was tidal wetlands,
[00:58:59.950]and it was damned to create freshwater ponds
[00:59:03.290]for a duck hunting club.
[00:59:05.760]And the road leading up to the lodge,
[00:59:08.180]they planted these ceremonial trees
[00:59:11.930]and about 10 or 15 years ago,
[00:59:16.000]they opened up the damming material that to once again,
[00:59:21.820]allow the mixture of salt and fresh water in this, a lagoon,
[00:59:25.770]you know, which is like critically important ecologically,
[00:59:28.690]lagoons are like, they're almost like lungs, if you will.
[00:59:33.070]But of course the eucalyptus are salt intolerant
[00:59:37.890]and they all died.
[00:59:39.835]So this, again, it was like,
[00:59:41.390]it's not this major catastrophe like bulldozing orchards
[00:59:45.240]or anything, but it's kind of, it's interesting that,
[00:59:48.530]you know, it's so hard to kind of sort all this stuff out
[00:59:51.360]and that those paradoxes are just,
[00:59:54.930]that's one of my subjects that is not necessarily visible,
[00:59:59.210]but it propels that thinking about the landscape in that way
[01:00:02.800]propels me to make the pictures.
[01:00:06.260]And of course, then there's this further problem
[01:00:10.130]that I think Bob Adams' work,
[01:00:12.760]and a lot of other photographers share
[01:00:14.720]in that this dead thing is incredibly beautiful
[01:00:18.140]in a black and white photograph, you know, so.
[01:00:24.370]So I don't know if that answers the question,
[01:00:26.268]but it allowed for me to pontificate a bit anyway.
[01:00:30.000]All right, looks like you're actually
[01:00:30.950]in that drawing class right now as we speak.
[01:00:35.480]If it's okay, if there is time,
[01:00:37.510]I was just curious, Mark and Toby,
[01:00:39.530]you guys both were mentioning how "Los Angeles Spring"
[01:00:43.530]is you know, a little bit differently printed
[01:00:46.170]than everything else.
[01:00:47.350]And you guys both said it was maybe
[01:00:50.680]the most beautifully printed, you know, in your opinion.
[01:00:54.130]I'm just curious, was there
[01:00:55.940]some sort of different techniques going on
[01:00:57.900]or is it solely just the difference of light
[01:01:01.560]that he was able to capture?
[01:01:04.240]I think it's both, as Toby mentioned,
[01:01:08.230]he didn't sort of define what it was, but he mentioned,
[01:01:10.820]he used this word Portriga,
[01:01:12.700]these pictures are printed on a German photo paper,
[01:01:15.683]Agfa Portriga Rapid, which is no longer available.
[01:01:19.810]And actually some of mine are as well,
[01:01:21.430]because I have a cache in freezer of this paper,
[01:01:25.530]but it's a warm paper, it's not just the emulsion is warm,
[01:01:29.650]but also the paper base is warm.
[01:01:33.574]And I'm not a hundred percent sure,
[01:01:35.610]but I'm fairly certain that,
[01:01:39.500]it's the only project that he printed on that paper.
[01:01:43.596]And that might not be, I think, some of the
[01:01:46.061]night photographs, right, the.
Some of the,
[01:01:49.440]no, I think that,
[01:01:51.171]I think that from "The Missouri West" so that.
[01:01:52.560]Oh, okay, yeah, you're right.
[01:01:54.043]Right before that.
And that makes sense too.
[01:01:55.300]Yeah, I forgot that.
[01:01:56.830]But when we're, you know,
The work before and after,
[01:01:59.470]I'm sorry, Toby, I'm talking over you,
[01:02:00.677]but the work before and after these two bodies of work
[01:02:04.570]are printed on very cold tone papers, okay.
[01:02:08.190]So, I mean, they're all kinda black and white,
[01:02:11.970]but of course, when you lay, like, I used
[01:02:15.280]in one of my classes,
[01:02:17.680]I would lay out like 15 or 20 different photographs
[01:02:20.110]from different people and say,
[01:02:21.680]these are all black and white photographs, right.
[01:02:23.710]But every single one of them is a different color, so.
[01:02:27.360]And it's something that's fairly easy to see
[01:02:29.900]between those papers.
[01:02:30.970]So the cold tone papers really look,
[01:02:35.110]they really look black and white.
[01:02:37.470]And when Bob makes a shift for "LA Spring,"
[01:02:41.260]I mean the best way to put it is they're the color of smog.
[01:02:45.050]It's this almost, I don't wanna say sepia
[01:02:47.830]to make it feel like a kind of 19th century picture.
[01:02:51.140]But you can see they look brown next to the earlier work.
[01:02:57.953]And I do think that part of it was the,
[01:03:02.300]part of it was the scale.
[01:03:04.330]And like I said, those early pictures, they're very small,
[01:03:06.750]they're made with a Hasselblad, so they're square images
[01:03:09.810]and, you know, a square camera's not necessarily
[01:03:13.280]what you think about for making a landscape picture,
[01:03:16.030]but Bob wanted to divide, you know,
[01:03:17.900]what I was talking about before,
[01:03:19.610]you've got all the housing development on the bottom
[01:03:22.040]and this beautiful sky on the top.
[01:03:23.630]So it allowed him to balance the image that way.
[01:03:26.490]But then he starts working with a larger camera,
[01:03:29.510]which allows him to make these bigger prints.
[01:03:32.140]So again, this idea that, you know,
[01:03:33.313]a 16 by 20 print was huge.
[01:03:35.550]And I think that there really, you know,
[01:03:37.870]there are other things
[01:03:38.760]that he made that size afterwards, but.
[01:03:41.580]Yeah, yeah, I used, you know, I used to,
[01:03:45.000]I probably still do think that those earlier pictures,
[01:03:47.380]the "Denver" and "The New West" pictures and that
[01:03:49.190]were like really mean and angry. (laughs)
[01:03:53.020]The picture, not him, but, you know, they were.
[01:03:56.440]And I think there was something about the smallness of it
[01:04:00.500]that, and this is a really subjective reading of it,
[01:04:03.410]but I really, you know, for me,
[01:04:05.470]that emphasizes kind of anger, you know.
[01:04:10.420]I mean if you made that picture
[01:04:12.970]of the the woman in the window there,
[01:04:14.480]if you made that really, really large,
[01:04:16.610]it would read really, really differently.
[01:04:19.850]And I think this is a problem.
[01:04:22.970]I mean, we've always had this problem,
[01:04:25.130]but with the internet, of course,
[01:04:26.990]it's greatly exaggerated, and that is,
[01:04:29.550]we make a lot of assumptions about pictures
[01:04:31.610]based on reproductions of the picture
[01:04:33.530]rather than the picture itself.
[01:04:34.860]And, you know, in an art history slide lecture,
[01:04:38.290]a daguerrotype and a Jeff Wall could be the same size.
[01:04:41.460]And the Jeff Wall in real life is eight feet wide.
[01:04:43.950]And the daguerrotype is what two and a half inches,
[01:04:46.741]you know, and size and scale is part of the way,
[01:04:50.530]any picture, regardless of the medium,
[01:04:54.730]gains its potential for meaning and enjoyment you know, so.
[01:04:59.700]Matt, I think you're right about
[01:05:04.570]that idea about sort of anger.
[01:05:07.550]I would say that some of it was, you know,
[01:05:10.040]when he writes about going out and making those pictures
[01:05:13.170]and he describes a kind of threatening landscape
[01:05:17.090]in a way that it doesn't necessarily come across in,
[01:05:20.830]I mean, like when you're looking at some of Mark's pictures,
[01:05:22.700]it's not hard to imagine somebody coming out from, you know,
[01:05:27.180]from behind a tree with a bat coming at you.
[01:05:29.620]But Bob talks about, you know,
[01:05:33.630]this idea you're walking around in these kind of, you know,
[01:05:36.270]these suburban and edge, you know, neighborhoods
[01:05:38.790]or edge of suburbia with a camera, maybe a tripod.
[01:05:41.810]And he says, you know, dogs come after you.
[01:05:43.310]And you know, people are throwing, you know,
[01:05:45.230]throwing bottles out their car and things like that.
[01:05:48.090]And then he really talked about how threatened he felt,
[01:05:52.070]making the pictures.
[01:05:54.690]And just even the sort of, I mean, you know,
[01:05:58.290]even today I think if somebody was walking around
[01:06:00.400]a neighborhood with a view camera,
[01:06:03.790]your neighbors would, you know, half the people in the block
[01:06:06.280]would either call the cops or shoot at the guy.
[01:06:10.630]You know, looking at this frontier gas station again,
[01:06:14.830]there was one thing that I forgot to say earlier
[01:06:17.700]that always struck me with some of these pictures
[01:06:19.760]is that there's a kind of ironic component to the early work
[01:06:23.930]that disappears as his career moves forward.
[01:06:27.510]There's another picture from the same series,
[01:06:29.440]it's a kinda distant view of a cul-de-sac
[01:06:31.810]in a new housing development.
[01:06:33.090]And, but if you look really closely,
[01:06:34.390]the name of the street is Darwin Place.
[01:06:37.860]I mean it can't be accidental,
[01:06:39.420]there's hundreds of cul-de-sacs to choose from, you know,
[01:06:42.480]or this idea of frontier, I mean.
[01:06:46.410]You know, there's this kind of little twist
[01:06:48.610]in just the choice of gas station
[01:06:51.590]or the choice of the cul-de-sac or what have you
[01:06:53.680]in that I think,
[01:06:59.980]I mean, again, and he didn't tell me this,
[01:07:02.620]looking at the work as a whole,
[01:07:05.570]it seems he's come to distrust the kind of ironic stance
[01:07:11.430]that some of the early work has, you know.
[01:07:14.800]Well, I think that what is it, that he would counter it
[01:07:18.810]with what he was writing in his essays.
[01:07:22.000]So to me, I mean, when I first saw his work,
[01:07:26.700]I really struggled with it.
[01:07:28.920]Because I, you know, when I studied History of Photography,
[01:07:33.090]nothing came up past 1920.
[01:07:35.190]So you couldn't sit down and take a class in Robert Adams.
[01:07:39.930]And so what I, you know, what I knew of landscape
[01:07:44.594]again was Ansel Adams.
[01:07:45.930]And, I first saw this work in probably like 1988
[01:07:53.160]when he had his first big retrospective
[01:07:54.940]and I walked away kind of angry.
[01:07:56.600]And then I started reading the essays.
[01:07:58.750]He has a little book called "Beauty in Photography."
[01:08:01.570]And if you read that, it sounds like
[01:08:04.420]it has nothing to do at all with these pictures.
[01:08:06.390]And you really have to kind of go back
[01:08:08.603]and tease that out from them.
[01:08:10.240]So I think that, I guess
[01:08:13.680]the only the way I would disagree
[01:08:15.200]is that I think he always wanted you to have some sort of,
[01:08:18.410]some little foothold to have hope in those early pictures.
[01:08:22.270]And maybe that's what kind of has disappeared.
[01:08:27.700]Yeah, okay, I, yeah,
[01:08:29.840]we'll agree to disagree on that one.
[01:08:31.730]Again, as somebody who was a teacher for over 30 years,
[01:08:34.413]it's like, I trust the tale, not the teller.
[01:08:40.660]I think that's a fitting way to end this tonight.
[01:08:44.940]I want to thank Mark and Toby,
[01:08:47.570]really interesting conversation.
[01:08:50.190]I hope that all of you who are close enough
[01:08:53.140]can see the exhibition
[01:08:54.540]and see these prints in the galleries.
[01:08:57.350]I would just remind you before I sign off
[01:08:59.740]that on the 24th of March, Mel Chin will be with us
[01:09:04.770]on a Zoom, a recent work that we just acquired
[01:09:08.900]through our Sheldon Student Advisory Board.
[01:09:11.280]And with that good evening,
[01:09:12.710]and I hope you join us next month, thanks.
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