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Jefferson County, March 19, 2009

Jefferson County, March 19, 2009

For Robert Adams fans (such as myself), From the Missouri West, published by Aperture in 1984 is an important book–actually, for me, the first book of his I managed to acquire, published when I was beginning to photograph.  The cover image is titled Jefferson County, Colorado, and is of Hogback Ridge, located along Route 93 between Golden and Boulder.  I discovered this site a few years ago when visiting the wind site at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, located just a few miles further north along 93.  Robert Adams also discusses this site in the last essay of Beauty in Photography, published in 1996.  In the Adams photograph, there are cattle grazing in the grasslands to the left of the ridge in the photograph, lending a pastoral balance to the highway on the right–but that space is now devoted to a landfill, filling a mine site and then some.  The fence in the foreground of the more recent photograph is to keep people out of the landfill, and, from previous visits, I think the foreground of the Adams image has been destroyed to make a road cut for the entrance to the landfill.

From Lookout Mountain, near Golden, Colorado, March 19, 2009

From Lookout Mountain, near Golden, Colorado, March 19, 2009

Later in the afternoon, I found the site of a second image from the same book–a view from Lookout Mountain.  I’d gone up to see Buffalo Bill’s grave–I’d photographed a sign to this site from I-70 back in 1985–but I’d never been there–and this site caught me by surprise.  I think the graffiti is different that it was 30 years ago, but the same rock has been marked–and there has been an obvious attempt by public officials to remove graffiti (including inscriptions that must have taken many hours to make) from the rocks.

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