Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography. Adam Fuss

This is a revealing and evocative look at Adam Fuss's working environment and an insight into his creative ideas

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Video Transcript

I like forms in my work to raise questions. Is there a spiritual element to being alive? Is there a spiritual element to my past experiences?

I feel that I explore my themes, essentially in the dark. The dark room is the shadow place. So when in that place, you know that’s where you make discoveries, where you’re creator, it’s more in there than in the light.

I feel a photogram, which has much less information, has much more intimacy and feeling than a normal photograph.

The way I discovered the photogram was through accidentally finding within the pinhole camera process that it would be possible to make pictures without needing the outside world as a subject.

Metaphorically I stepped into the camera…and I’m still there.

I came to snakes and ladders recently because I was interested in how the snake was depicted as a negative phenomenon, and the work I’d been doing with snakes and ladders has allowed me to explore that paradox around the snake as being something very energetic, powerful, positive. And at the same time being something that is corrupting, repulsive, to be avoided.

Bringing images, manifesting images, that bringing out and externalising has been therapeutic for me. Healing.

You don’t create, you die. You know, you’re not creative, you die. It’s just about survival really. 





 Conceived as visual elegies, Adam Fuss’s work is about the discovery of the unseen, the expression of the ephemeral and the universal themes of life and death. Working in his darkroom, he creates a series of ‘daguerreotype’ photograms of butterflies. Now a largely obsolete photographic medium, the daguerreotype was first used in the 1840s. Fuss also uses live snakes in his studio, making images that explore the animal’s symbolic and metaphorical meanings. 


The exhibition Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography (13 October 2010 – 20 February 2011) featured five international artists who challenge the assumption that a camera is necessary to make a photograph. The V&A commissioned five short films on each of the artists, showing their studios and places that inspire them. This is a revealing and evocative look at their working environments and an insight into their creative ideas.