Pikes Peak, Colorado: Frontier Myth Analysis

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Pikes Peak, Colorado Spring, Colorado by Robert Adams depicts the conquered land that was once part of the frontier myth. This frontier myth made us believe in the unlimited land and opportunities that awaited us in the West. More importantly, the myth told us that it was our duty and destiny to make this land our own. Paintings of westward expansion, like Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way (1861) by Emanuel Leutze, depicts settlers constantly moving forward, expanding and conquering the wild west. This expansion altered and imposed order onto the landscape of the West. The large “frontier” sign looming over the gas station in Pikes Peak, Colorado Spring, Colorado quite literally marks the frontier and the expansion into the West. Robert Adams shows the viewers what this man-altered landscape has become; what our frontier myth has created. The composition of Adams’ photographs differs…show more content…
Adams received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Redlands, and his PhD in English from the University of Southern California. After earning his PhD, Adams went back to Colorado to teach, but instead became interested in the landscape of Colorado. Adams explained “I began making pictures because I wanted to record what supports hope: the untranslatable mystery and beauty of the world. Along the way the camera also caught evidence against, and I eventually concluded that this too belonged in pictures if they were to be truthful and useful” (O’Hagan). Robert Adams admired Ansel Adams’ work, but unlike Ansel Adams, Robert photographs did not show the conventionally beautiful landscape free from human involvement. Robert showed the landscape as a whole; the man-altered landscape. Both Ansel and Robert “acknowledged the inevitability of incursion, much of it ugly; both believed in the redemptive power of the Western light” (Salvensen, 44). Do not end on

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