17 April 2009

2009 Hasselblad Award to Robert Adams

The Hasselblad Foundation announced this week that Robert Adams has won their annual photography award. Adams won the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize several years ago and, as I noted at the time, donated the cash from the award to Human Rights watch. On the Hasselblad web page we learn that Adams lives in Astoria, Oregon a nice seaside town which, interestingly enough, was among m stops on a recent trip up the Pacific coast. August really liked the hot dogs at one of the local brew pubs. In any case, here is part of the e-exchange that Adams had with well-wishers at the time of the award:

Jessica: Where do you find your inspiration?

Robert Adams: Anywhere there s light. Photographers are open to gifts. As the poet John Clare wrote, "I found the poems in the fields / And only wrote them down."

Does art have any practical effect? Does it actually change anything?

Robert Adams: It does, but indirectly. By definition art is not propaganda; the goal is not to excite people to action but to help them find a sense of wholeness and thereby a sense of calm. But from that we take courage for a re-engagement with the specifics of life.

Why did you choose photography as a way to express yourself?

Robert Adams: My hope is less to express myself than to acknowledge my place. Photography inherently looks outward, and is suited to that goal.

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