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Robert Adams

Burning Oil Sludge, Weld County, Colorado
1974
gelatin silver print
6 x 7 5/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Virginia Zabriskie

Robert Adams shows the natural world as simultaneously beautiful and impinged on by human ignorance and rapacity. Whether we read this dichotomy as irony or ambivalence, there is no mistaking the foreboding in Adams’s photograph of burning oil sludge.