The first stumbling block for your brain on seeing Adam Voorhes’ work is trying to decipher if you’re looking at a photograph or an illustration. Meticulous detail, and gravity defying orientation lead us to naturally assume it must have been drawn somehow, or faked with some computer tricky. But no. There are photographs. Adam himself explains…
Hey Adam, we’re all thinking it – are these photographs?!
Yes, they are. I’m not a very good illustrator. I wish I were, some of my ideas are a bit much for photography, so they just live their lives out as crappy sketches and don’t get this far.
Take me through your process, do you really break open etch-a-sketches?
Typically when I have an idea of my own I obsess about it for a couple of months. Some stay with me for a year before I can do them. Client work keeps me pretty busy. But when I finally have some time I try to get things out of my system. It’s hard to move on to the new ideas without giving the old ones the respect they deserve. I’m currently backlogged. The exploded objects was a fun one.
Yes, I broke open two Etch-A-Sketchs. My producer dissected a bunch of bull frogs, and we dismembered the phone, the gun was the easy one. Etch-A-Sketches are a lot messier than you’d think, and hard to open. A lot worse than a frog. We pried the first one open with a screw driver and aluminum powder and little plastic beads went flying everywhere. We had to get a second and drill a hole in it to get more powder for the shot. I never realized how they worked – little wires on pulleys connect to a point that scrapes the aluminum powder off of the screen. Or something like that. However it works it’s clever and close to magic.
As the photography part goes, I try to be patient and make as much happen in front of the camera as I can – we float things on plates of glass, acrylic blocks, and hang things from wire. That way I don’t have to sit in front of my computer for two long, but it goes both ways.
What’s the photography scene like in Texas?
Austin is Fun. Boutique. We have an amazing creative community, a zillion designers. Some small shops doing huge work like the Butler Bros, and a couple big ones like GSD&M and Pentagram and legendary photographers like Dan Winters and young people like myself. There are a ton of kids right out of school trying to make a living, but the truth of it is, there isn’t enough work for them here. What I would like to see, is Austin evolve into a creative hub to rival bigger cities, and draw work from the massive agencies. The talent is here, and it’s much cooler than New York and Los Angeles – I’ve lived in both places, Austin wins.
Where would you love to see your photographs end up?
Archive. I like ads with brilliant concepts and I want to do award winning work. I like editorial too, the creative freedom if great but the budgets hold me back a lot (nothing we haven’t heard before, right?) I don’t care if my images are in print or on the web or on the side of a bus, as long as the art direction is brilliant and the photos look cool.