At a moment in time when large format, digitally manipulated color photographs compete with paintings for our attention, Adam Fuss continues to make pictures of unrivaled beauty and mystery with traditional and historical photographic techniques. His exploration of the processes for making daguerreotypes, platinum prints or photograms, for example, is not the result of a fascination with technology or a romance with the past but a desire to compose and a passion to realize an idea.
Fuss has most often made unique images with a simple process that completely eliminates the camera—a photogram. Dependent upon the physical qualities of the actual object placed on light-sensitive paper and the length of its exposure to light Fuss has created stunning abstractions and poignant compositions from such materials as babies in water, the trail of snakes across a surface, sunflowers , rabbits and their entrails and light moving in space. Since 1999 he has worked on a series entitled “My Ghost” an evocative reference with spiritual associations realized in such images as christening gowns, transparent and absent the warmth of the intended wearer or columns of smoke captured during their brief existence. Many of these unique and intimate prints are large in scale.
While his subjects are recognizable and often familiar, their associations are metaphysical and, even, emotional. Much has been said of his work as a type of deepening internalization of photography through his penetrating acknowledgement of the required chemical process traditionally necessary to create a print. About his images, he commented: “It’s only when I make a picture that I have to keep looking at that I feel I’ve succeeded. I’ve always needed to make images that have a sense of revelation to the viewer, namely me. (I’m not surprised by them) It’s more like the sensation of looking into the face of someone very beautiful. Or, perhaps, when…you’re faced with the unknown. I got into pinhole and photograms because I was bored with the pictures I was seeing.”
A resident of New York since 1982, Fuss was born in London and departed England for Australia where he first studied photography while working as studio assistant to a commercial photographer. After arriving in New York he worked as a commercial photographer documenting art exhibitions. He has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally and his work is in private and public collections. This exhibition was the first survey of Fuss’ career and included images from several of his primary series, including the spirals, flowers, waterdrops, snakes, and images from the ongoing series “My Ghost.” The Kunstahalle Bielefeld organized this exhibition and it premiered at the MFA before circulating to Europe.