Many of Adams’s photographs are studies of landscape around Denver, showing how its natural beauty has been scarred by human habitation. The series What We Bought: The New World 1970-4 reflects his shock, on returning to the area after several years, to see the expansion of polluted suburbia into this previously unspoilt area. Rather than revelling in the beauty of the American West, these black and white images draw our attention to telegraph poles, parking lots, shopping malls and advertisements.
Adams has stated:
‘The pictures record what we purchased, what we paid, and what we could not buy. They document a separation from ourselves, and in turn from the natural world that we professed to love.’