Gaining Access to Ricky Adam's World
Ricky Adam’s photography is a raw journey through youth sub-culture and a rollercoaster ride through the punk, BMX and live music scenes. Enjoy our exclusive interview.
Tell us a bit about your photography…I’ve always tried to stay away from photographing the more obvious negative aspects of where I grew up in Northern Ireland. This is the reason why BMX & the punk scene were & still are so appealing to me. It was a break from the norm & was something positive that I could channel my energy into.
Are you always welcome with a camera around your neck?
It depends on who or what I'm taking photos of. A lot of the subjects I photograph are personal friends of mine. So, it's usually ok. I've never had an altercation whilst taking a picture. I think you have to be intuitive & know when to take a picture and also, when not to.
Are there some subjects that are off-limits?
As a general rule I never take photos of homeless people. These sorts of subjects are such an easy target and unless you're actively helping out in some capacity, I think it's totally wrong to dehumanise people who are down on their luck for the sake of 'art'.
Can you explain the title of your recent project, ‘Destroying Everything seems like the only option’?
The majority of the photographs focus on youth sub-culture & deal with the frustration of being young and oftentimes directionless, kids winging it, rebelling, doing their own thing. It seemed like a perfect fit.
It’s a very raw book…
There is a somewhat apocalyptic thread running through the book but there's also another side that shows passion & creativity whilst other photos are quite ambiguous. I know the story behind them but I’d like to think that people looking at them will make up their own story.
What does destruction mean to you?
I'd say a lot of the subjects I photograph have a somewhat self-destructive personality - (I'm going to include myself in that category as well). I think everyone is self destructive in one sense or another. It's all part of being human. Sometimes however, I am drawn to certain things that people might in turn deem as negative. Maybe (to quote the Circle Jerks) - "I'm a product of my environment".
What are you working on now?
I'm currently working on a book about my time spent in the Midwest of America from 2001 - 2005. Titled: 'The Freezing Heart Of America'.
As well as this, there's a long-term project about a group of my punker friends who have been squatting, etc. It's getting there, albeit slowly.
A few months ago I made a photo Zine' about punk jackets titled 'Glad To See The Back Of You'. Basically snapshots of the back of punk jackets from the region of the UK I live in. There is also an extended second edition of Destroying Everything coming out pretty soon, published by Drago Arts & Communications.
Be sure to check out Ricky Adam’s website.