February 2015

Robert Adams, Berthoud, Colorado, 1976. Yale University Art Gallery Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund
This photograph, from Robert Adams's Summer Nights, Walking, is quiet and inviting. Take a moment to look — really look — at this picture and consider what you learn about the world and about yourself from the image. What do you see, sense, and feel after spending time with the photo? Respond to this picture and our questions with text, photos, videos, or audio files, and we’ll feature your response on our website.

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Looking for the Incredible in a Simple Moment

The summer night is like a perfection of thought. [1] 
–Wallace Stevens

Ninety-nine years after the first home was built in Berthoud, Colorado, a 39-year-old photographer walked the streets of this small town at night. In front of a modest house lit by streetlight, he made a picture of the shadows of leaves playing across the clapboards. Beneath, through a half-opened window partially obscured by houseplants, the photographer captured the flicker of another shadow, a human figure.

There is nothing earth-shattering about this moment. Anyone who has walked a dog on a summer night has glimpsed something similar. Nevertheless, this moment was made permanent and, nine years later, became the cover of Robert Adams’s 1985 book, Summer Nights.

Five years later, I discovered this book in the library and the course of my life was changed. I took a summer photo class…