A now classic text on the art, Why People Photograph gathers a selection of essays by the great master photographer Robert Adams, tackling such diverse subjects as collectors, humor, teaching, money and dogs. Adams also writes brilliantly on Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Laura Gilpin, Judith Joy Ross, Susan Meiselas, Michael Schmidt, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Eugène Atget. The book closes with two essays on "working conditions" in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century American West, and the essay "Two Landscapes." Adams writes: "At our best and most fortunate we make pictures because of what stands in front of the camera, to honor what is greater and more interesting than we are."
Adams, a noted photographer of the American West, dislikes words that describe pictures. In this collection of poetic, thought-provoking and highly original essays, he examines Paul Strand's devotion to America and analyzes the origins of his art; he looks at the contradictions in Ansel Adams' life and work, and comes to his own conclusions. He writes movingly not only of people but of place--his beloved West--and his belief that "we live in several landscapes at once, among them the landscape of hope..."