Imagine seeing the world in beautiful colours and daydreaming about breathtaking landscapes. This is exactly how we feel when we look at Dustin Adam's inspiring photographs. His photographic journey started out through skateboarding and he has been taking awesome shots ever since. Experimental photography improved his work and allowed him to create something unique. In this interview, Dustin talks about the process behind these experimental dreamscapes and reveals why sometimes it's okay to break the rules.
Hey Dustin! How did you get into photography?
I got into photography through skateboarding. There's always been a lot of talented artist involved in skateboarding and seeing their work in magazines and on skateboards always influenced me. My older brother was also taking a black and white photo class in high school and his prints from class always blew my mind.
What was your very first camera and how did it influence your photographic journey?
My first camera was a Canon Rebel. I don't remember much about it, I think it kind of sucked and probably didn't influence me much, but it was a good starting point.
What makes analogue photography so appealing to you? What inspires you to capture the world around you precisely on film?
The process itself is something I've always appreciated. The more outdated it becomes, the more special I find it. Digital photography seems really watered down to me. Not saying that you can't make good digital work, but the analogue process has a lot more soul. What I do with film could never be done digitally. You can digitally manipulate a photo and make it look like mine, probably make it look a lot better, but the process would be different. Plus, overall film just looks better. Something about the light and texture, or something like that.
How did you come up with an idea to make these experimental dreamscapes and give your photos a whole new dimension?
A good friend of mine shared a photo with me that had a light leak on it. The photo was pretty boring, but the leak gave it a feeling I couldn't shake. It felt nostalgic and almost like a dream. I held onto that feeling for awhile, I'd never been effected by an image like that before. Around the same time, I was obsessed with Wolfgang Tillman's light paintings. It made me realize I could paint directly onto my negatives and try to recreate the photo my friend shared with me.
Where does Dustin Adams gets his creative ideas?
They're inside my head, deep in there somewhere. I make food at a Japanese restaurant right now to pay the bills, I hate it, but I'm really good at living in my head and pretending I'm somewhere else while I'm there. I can visualize ideal landscapes really well and dig up some ideas that are already in me. It's a form of escapism that I think I've pretty much mastered over the last few years of working in kitchens. That sounds insane when I read it back, but that's the truth.
In what ways did experimental photography improved your work and helped you establish your own photographic style?
I'm not really sure what my photos would be like if I'd never explored experimental photography. My photos were really boring before I started doing what I'm doing now. I still think they're boring and underwhelming, but that's because I know the potential thats there and how much better I can make them, and at least I've developed my own style.
What type of photographers influence your work and creative thinking?
Anyone who is exploring the medium and not following the rules. Also, the people who are following the rules who have mastered photography. I see so much repetitive work on the internet these days, including my own, that seeing anything I consider perfect or different for whatever reason is influential.
You’ve captured some pretty amazing landscapes. What was the most memorable place you have ever visited?
There are two places that will always stand out and they're Iceland and Niagara Falls. Iceland is obviously on a whole different level, but I think Niagara Falls is really beautiful. I was in completely different head spaces and points in my life while visiting each place, probably the highest I've ever been in one place and the lowest in the other. I was on auto pilot on both trips, definitely not conscious of what I was shooting, but both places are so fucking beautiful and ideal that I managed to make a lot of good photos, more than any other place I've ever been. Iceland is a landscape photographers dream. I highly recommend going before it gets completely destroyed by humans.
Can we expect more dreamy work from you in the future?
I've been on a little break from shooting because I've been busy making experimental film that I sell on my website, but things are starting to clear up and I'm slowing getting back in the rhythm I was in before. I shot a few rolls for this interview so I could show some new stuff and that felt really, really good, so hopefully I'll continue that and shoot many more rolls in 2017.