Rhiannon Adam


    • Female
    • Photographer


    About the artist

    "I am a London based Polaroid photographer/curator, originally hailing from Co. Cork, Ireland. I have been taking Polaroid photographs for over ten years. I started out shooting with a budget 600 series Polaroid camera and a healthy supply of free film. After catching the Polaroid bug and falling in love with the tangibility of the instant image – I quickly started collecting as many Polaroid cameras as I could lay my hands on. This has led to a collection resembling an addiction.

    My work is process-based - concerned with cataloguing life in all its eccentricities, using only available light, with no cropping or editing after the fact. Polaroid provides freedom from complication, allowing me to concentrate on creating the image in camera, creating a dialogue between viewer and photographer. By using Polaroid, I am able to authenticate the images, proving to the audience that this image is indeed how things were at that brief moment in time. The picture changes colour depending on the environment in which it was shot, and these chemical based "birthmarks" reveal a visual language of their own. My pictures stand in direct opposition to digital imagery- I use Polaroids not because they are convenient but because it is a medium with a whole set of individual rules particular to instant photography that allow an honesty and mysticism one can only dream of with digital.

    Since Polaroid ceased production in 2008, I have been forced to use more and more expired materials, which has led to whole new ways of working. Now, more than ever, each image I shoot is half mine, and half belonging to the peculiar eccentricities of a particular film pack. Each image replies partially on serendipity. I learn with each new pack of film, occasionally intervening with the process to heighten the sense of place the pictures capture. My work is often autobiographical in content, focused on familiar locations from my life that have taken on a kind of resonance through my relationships to them. My aim is to allow the viewer of my works to experience an intimate relationship with my past.

    Polaroids, with their illicit subtext, and rapid creation, break down the barriers between viewer and photographer – everyone knows how to take a Polaroid. They are accessible, and automatically have a nostalgic and timeless feel, allowing my work to be assimilated by the viewer in a way that I could not achieve with more complex photographic methods.

    More recently I have been working on a series of large-scale Polaroid emulsion lift composite works which depict non-linear associated memories. These pieces echo life experience, where one journey leads to another, and experiences are interconnected. The fluidity and delicacy of the process mirrors the fragility of memories, and how these can be altered by outside influences."

    Rhiannon Adam

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