Summer Nights, Walking is one of my favourite photography books. The photographs within were made along the Colorado front range between 1976 – 1982. The relaxed atmosphere of the pictures gives the impression of a dreamy night time perambulation, where Adams captures his unpopulated surroundings using moonlight and street lamps. When looking at the photographs, I like to imagine the inhabitants of these places to be inside, hiding away from darkness amidst the warm glow of their houses. I also get the impression that Adams enjoyed the solitude of his walks and was inspired by the aloneness of his circumstances.
Adams observes his surroundings with an impressive attention to detail. Through the use of darkness, he transforms everyday objects into something curious, and the ordinary towns he walks through become dreamlike landscapes. The first image in the book depicts a fairground ride shrouded in darkness. It sets a quiet and melancholic tone to the book whilst drawing attention to the way Adams seemingly distances himself away from the action.
The expanded edition from 2009 is superbly printed on crisp matte heavy weight paper with an egg shell tone. The book contains a minimal amount of text opening with only three small paragraphs from Adams, alongside a number of poems from the likes of William Blake. We don’t have much in terms of written content to work with but we don’t need it. Like all great photography, the images are revelatory enough without additional text. This is exceptional photography contained within an unfussy, beautiful book and the overall simplicity of the book design enables the complexity of the photographs to truly shine.