Adam Bartos’ interest in the 19th century travel work of Samuel Bourne, Robert MacPherson, and others, led him to Egypt, Kenya, and Mexico in the early 1980s with a large format camera and color film. His images are thoroughly modern, yet their energy is inspired by the lucid depiction of form and light that the earlier photographers achieved. His attention to the picture plane creates a tension that resonates between the photograph as both his expression of a place and an object in and of itself. None of the photographs are constructed wholly from incident or narrative. As Geoff Dyer notes in the introduction to Bartos’ book Boulevard: "his pictures are like self-portraits of the things in them."
Barto's images of Long Island from 2007-2010 have been printed using a four-color carbon transfer process that, with its tonal range and description of fine detail, emphasizes Bartos’ subtle color palette and formal compositions.
From 2011-2013 Bartos visited local speedways in rural New York, Florida and New Mexico where drivers race the super-stock class of car on quarter-mile dirt oval tracks. The intrinsic aesthetic Bartos captures is that of a rather crude and utilitarian technology glamorized by the singularity of its purpose and accumulated patina, acquired at high speeds on dirt tracks.