David Emitt Adams on Inspiration, Alternative Process, and Exploring the Roots of Photography at Art Intersection

is surrounded in his Tempe studio by tin, sketches of film cameras, and a huge inspiration wall that grows behind his desk. 


It's a space that he's shared with other local creatives and fellow grad students in the photography program at ASU. He says it's a working space -- and a good representation of what's going on in his head. 

​The local photographer was born in Yuma and says his interest in photography began while he moved with his family around the world. He wanted to document what he saw (not an uncommon beginning in the photography world), but he says that he grew to understand and totally commit himself to photography through learning under John Coffer, James Hajicek, and his photography professors at ASU. 

Adams says he once found a set of small tintype photographs that were his grandfather's that he currently keeps in his studio. He says these portraits are at the roots of his process and of his work (on view beginning tomorrow) at Art Intersection

​Adams was approached by Carol Panaro-Smith and Hajicek, both photographers who run the Gilbert gallery and center dedicated to learning, creating, and exhibiting photographic work. He had taken classes with Hajicek at ASU and knew both through the local arts community. 

Exploring the Roots of Photography, which opens tomorrow night with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m., includes a range of historical and contemporary photographic work (platinum prints, Daguerreotypes, photogravures, tintypes, cyanotypes, and gelatin silver prints) from contemporary photographers and historically important photographers Alfred Stieglitz Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, Paul Strand. 

"These are the names of photography, to a point," says Adams. "These people have hugely influenced the world of photography, so to be in the same space as them is wonderful, and same goes for the people in the show who are still alive. To be asked to be in this show was the nicest compliment anyone has ever given me."

Adams' salt prints, photogravures, and a series of tintypes called 36 Exposures.
David Emitt Adams on Inspiration, Alternative Process, and Exploring the Roots of Photography at Art Intersection
Tintype by David Emitt Adams

​"To me it was a natural fit, and the materials came together," he says. "These canisters hold the spirit of the beginning of photography for these kids. It's their first rolls of film .... Historically, when George Eastman invented the roll film, it replaced wet plate photography. Now, I'm taking those and making wet plate on them -- it's what digital photography is doing now to roll film."

Adams' series, as well as the work of contemporary photographers on loan from ASU's Northlight Gallery, Jeremy Rowe, and Tilt Gallery

Exploring the Roots of Photography opens with a reception on September 17 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Art Intersection, 207 N Gilbert Rd Suite 201 in Gilbert, and continues through Oct. 30. 

The exhibition includes lectures from Jeremy Rowe, photographic historian, collector, and Board member of INFOCUS, who will speak on September 23 at 7 p.m. on the history of ambrotypes, tintypes and Daguerreotype. 
James Hajicek will also give a gallery talk and walk, How is it Made?, on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. 

For more information, visit the Art Intersection website

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