Adam Davies

About Adam Davies

Biography

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Adam Davies is an award-winning photographer whose large-format film photography explores architecture, social systems, and public spaces, using these subjects to pose questions about place, identity, materiality, and history. Said David Tomkins, Writer/Editor of The Chinati Foundation, Marfa: There’s an enigmatic quality to Davies’ images, and to the places they depict. The pictures bear a trace of something a bit uncanny, because the places they depict are quietly but insistently someplace else – or at least the threshold to someplace else… maybe a little magical, maybe a little cursed.

Adam is a recipient of grants from the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the Vira Heinz Endowment, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and has attended residencies at Chinati Foundation, Creative Alliance, Fine Arts Work Center, and Yaddo. He has worked as a Lecturer & Media Specialist at the National Gallery of Art, Washington and taught at Carnegie Mellon, Catholic, Robert Morris, and Harvard Universities. In 2015, Adam was named as Outstanding Emerging Artist at the DC Mayor’s Arts Awards and was the recipient of the Clarence John Laughlin Award. Between 2016–19, he was an artist-in-residence at Creative Alliance in Baltimore where his 2018 exhibition featured collaborations with Los Angeles-based musician Alex Zhang Hungtai and Chicago-based percussionist Adam Rosenblatt. He is currently working with two award-winning authors: Joan Wickersham on a project based upon the seventeenth-century Swedish shipwreck Vasa and Ivy Pochoda on an exploration of the annual wildflower bloom that borders the highways in downtown Los Angeles.

Statement

I have long been fascinated by the issue of human engagement with the natural and built environment: how we experience our surroundings and, in turn, how we affect them. I am interested in representing the possibilities of a hybrid landscape – in which buildings and the surrounding environment are fused – creating photographs that offer a different perspective on architecture, one that downplays a heroic conquest of nature and looks instead for modes of coexistence with it.

View Camera

I primarily work with a large-format view camera. Standard equipment for architecture photographers in the mid-twentieth century, this film camera allows for the movement of the lens separately from the back of the camera, altering the perspective, depth-of-field, and angle of focus within each image. The resulting negative is scanned and colour-corrected digitally. Working in this manner is time-consuming but creates a unique image – one that retains the distinct quality of film, its look and grain structure, while utilising the advantages of digital production. The final images possess an extremely high resolution, producing prints that convey a tactile sense of the materiality of the subjects and their surrounding spaces.

Interviews & Essays

Lions head carving located in the storeroom of the Vasa Museum.

Vasa In Conversation (video)

Excerpt from video about the exhibition, Conversations with a Shipwreck, produced by American Scandinavian Foundation and Vasa Museum, Stockholm. With the writer Joan Wickersham and Fred Hocker, Vasa Museum’s Director of Research.

Deck of the Swedish warship Vasa including carved wooden posts.

In Conversation with Darcy Frey

Transcript of an interview by Darcy Frey, director of the Creative Writing Program at Harvard University, with writer Joan Wickersham and Adam Davies discussing their multi-media collaboration inspired by the Swedish warship Vasa. Published in Scandinavian Review.

Looking across the Potomac river to cliffs and a railway covered in fog.

Photographers on Photographers

Interview with photographer Ben Marcin covering influences, technique, Baltimore, and Reroutings exhibition. Published in Lenscratch Magazine.

Water pouring over an ice covered dam.

Reroutings (film)

A short film by Samantha Mitchell made for the exhibition, Reroutings. First screened at Creative Alliance, Baltimore.

Underneath an arched railway bridge in Baltimore, piers are whitewashed to cover graffiti.

Nature & Manmade – Amalgamated

Essay by the curator Eric Hope on nature, architecture, and modernism. Published in East City Art Magazine.

The burnt landscape of field damaged by brushfire from a lightning strike. Melted plastic cattle trough on the right of the picture.

Liminal Spaces / Espacios liminales

David Tompkins’ essay on west Texas and Tarkovsky. Published in The Chinati Foundation. in both English and Spanish.

Ensayo de David Tompkins sobre Tarkovsky y el oeste de Texas. Publicado en inglés y español.

An abandoned large wooden board lies on the ground in a wild field in Truro.

What is the Antique in Truro

Essay written by the artist Taylor Baldwin for the issue, Urbanisms: Model Cities. Published in Triple Canopy.

Awards

2019
Travel grant, American-Scandinavian Foundation, NYC
2016-19
Artist residency, Creative Alliance, Baltimore, MD
2017
Review Santa Fe Photo Festival, Santa Fe, NM
2014, 15, & 16
Individual Artist Fellowship grant, Commission on the Arts and Humanities, DC
2016
City Arts Project Grant w/ Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center, Commission on the Arts and Humanities, DC
Semi-finalist, Sondheim Prize, Baltimore, MD
2015
Clarence John Laughlin Award, New Orleans Photo Alliance, LA
Outstanding Emerging Artist, Mayor’s Arts Awards, Washington, DC
2014
First Prize, Emulsion Annual, East City Art, Washington, DC
2011
Juror’s Award, Project Basho Photography Resource Center, Philadelphia, PA
2010 & 11
Finalist, Trawick Prize: Contemporary Art Awards, Bethesda, MD
2009
Artist-in-Residence, Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX
2008–09
Winter Fellowship, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA
2008
Artist Residency, Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY
Individual Creative Artist Fellowship, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Fellowship Award, Vira I. Heinz Endowment, Pittsburgh, PA
Finalist, Annual Fellowship, Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh, PA
2007
Artist Residency, Jentel, Banner, WY
2006
Artist Residency, Edward Albee Foundation, Montauk, NY