#herstories – Rhiannon Adam

From the f22 group, AOP photographer and f22 working group member, Kate Abbey, talks with AOP photographer Rhiannon Adam about her career and newest projects.

Rhiannon Adam was born in Co. Cork, Ireland in the 80s. She studied Art and Design at Central Saint Martins before embracing Nabokov, banned books and nonsense poetry while studying English at the University of Cambridge.

Much of her work is influenced by her nomadic childhood spent sailing the world with her parents from the age of seven, in a listless quest for greener pastures. Photography was low on the list of her parent’s priorities, resulting in a severe lack of photographic evidence from that extended period. Upon returning to ‘mainstream’ society and attending school in the UK as a teenager, it became clear that the image was important, not just for a sense of self, but as a means of communication, proof, and explication for others – as a way of fitting in, of being understood.

In a quest to explore these missing elements in her own story and her intrinsic sense of ‘otherness’, she is often drawn to marginalised groups (including her own queer community), societal outliers, and remote populations fighting against convention. Rhiannon’s long-term projects are narrative based, and focus on discourses relating to myth, loneliness, the concept of utopia, and the intersection between fact and fiction.

In 2015, supported by the BBC/Royal Geographical Society, Adam travelled to the remote island community of Pitcairn in the South Pacific. Adam’s project Big Fence / Pitcairn Island made its debut at Francesca Maffeo Gallery in Spring 2018 before behind shown at the Photographers’ Gallery’s New Talent exhibition in 2019, at the Hull International Photography Festival 2019, at Photo Vogue Festival in 2019, at the Recontres d’Arles’ Night of the Year 2019, and, in 2020, won the Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography at Photo IS:RAEL. Big Fence/ Pitcairn Island will be released by Blow Up Press in 2021.

Outside of her own work, she can be found teaching workshops or writing, often in connection to her anorak-like obsession with instant photography. Her exhaustive resource on instant photography – Polaroid: The Missing Manual, The Complete Creative Guide is available from Thames and Hudson. In 2021, she is exploring the intersections of analogue and Web3, with a focus on NFTs and the myriad possibilities that they represent in the post-truth era.

Images © Rhiannon Adam

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