10 minutes with Adam Krause

Interviews with Photographers April 15, 2011 10:34 am

Do you remember the moment that you knew you wanted to be a photographer?

There are a few moments of clarity I had growing up that I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life, sometimes when I am out making photographs I like, I still get that feeling..

a] When my brother was in high school I was in elementary school, and I remember taking his 35mm camera around the house and focusing it on various things, our pet birds, plants, my bed. I remember putting my eye to the camera and being transformed to a whole different world, a very quiet one.

b] I took my one and only photography class my senior year of high school, I went to a stuffy prep school, had to wear a tie everyday, I cant stress how bad of a student I was. I was also horrible communicator, I spoke too fast, mumbled and couldn’t write an intelligent essay to save my life. Towards the end of my senior year, this girl I really liked broke up with me, a few of my best friends got arrested for “big kid stuff”, and I started to see how I wasted the opportunity I’ve been giving over the past 4 years. This was the time I was taking my photography class, reading lots of Charles Bukowski and Henry Rollins poems. I remember making a series of self portraits either depicting some of the stuff I was reading, or including the actual books in the frames. They are probably the cheesiest most angsty teenage photographs ever made, but I also remember being in the darkroom and seeing these images appear out of nowhere, I feel this was the first time in my life I was ever really able to express myself clearly and it felt nice.

 

Adam Krause

Adam Krause

Adam Krause

Tell me about your project, Greenpoint Brooklyn Nazi Skinheads. How did you meet the subjects and get them comfortable enough to have you take their portraits and in some cases, photograph them in their homes?

I met those guys while working out at my gym. I grew up in a pretty tough punk rock community in south Florida, the scene there was very interracial and a nice mix of streetpunk and reggae. Part of our MO was to fuck up the racist kids if they ever came to our shows, blah blah, which gave me a knowledge of various symbols associated with the racist punk scene

I’ve always have been very interested in youth subcultures, specifically British Post War subcultures and the movements that were inspired by them. When I saw the guys in the gym, I knew exactly who they were right away but was also able to talk to them about bands they’re into etc etc. They knew off the bat that I don’t agree with their politics and I even told them we used to beat them up, but I think they felt comfortable around me because I did have a good knowledge of their background and what they were about.

As far as why they let me in their homes? #1, I asked, nicely. #2, I treated them with respect and I think they appreciated that.


Adam Krause

Adam Krause

Adam Krause


You have another project, Alligator Hunting + Commerce, which I think is fantastic. How long did you spend working on this and how did you come up with the idea to document this trade?

The Alligator project took way longer to produce then it did to shoot. I produced it with my friend/assistant for about 6 months, finding subjects, reading more about the history, laws, building a strong foundation. We flew down to shoot it and it took about 2 weeks, working literally non-stop, many days shooting from 5AM-midnight.

Although I grew up in Florida, I never really knew about legal alligator hunting. In college, there was this guy in my Spanish class- he was my conversational partner, total southern good ol’ boy. He’d bring in photos from his weekends, spent finding and shooting alligators at close range with shotguns, totally disgusting insane images, and not legal at all. He mentioned that legal hunting existed, but I never thought much of it

After living in New York for a year, I was assisting and getting some shooting assignments but not work that inspired me. I had a big introspective look at myself, and saw that my portfolio wasn’t representative of the work I wanted to make; formal portraits on location. I made a list of how to fix this problem and photographing such an unknown subject seemed like to be one of the solutions.


Adam Krause

Adam Krause

Adam Krause

Adam Krause

I know you are working on some personal projects now. How important are personal projects to you and how do you keep with them when you are busy with assignments?

I am a pretty obsessive person and certain ideas and thoughts just stick in my head and I go over them way too much. There is a small list of things in life that really make me happy, working on my projects is one of them. I get these ideas of things I want to photograph, and I cant come to peace with myself until I make them. That sounds overly tragic but its true.

 

Adam Krause

Adam Krause

Adam Krause

Adam Krause

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?

The Tao Te Ching tells us that the worst person to lie to is yourself. Only you know if you’re trying 100%, and it doesn’t matter if you’re studying to be a doctor, a barista, or making photographs, try as hard as possible and do it from your heart. With the access we have today, the tools of making photographs are very accessible, the only thing that is going to separate you from everyone else is your spirit and point of view.
Though I am relatively busy shooting assignments, the money I make goes to funding my projects and my personal work. The $500 I want to spend on a new surfboard or a new tattoo usually ends up going to a car rental or renting gear, I make sacrifices. I’ve won a few awards along the way: don’t let that stuff confuse you with success.
Don’t believe everything you read, especially in an online interview..

(Adam is based in Brooklyn, NY. See more of his work, here)

3 Comments

  • I love Adam’s work. The critical moment in his still portraits is impeccably crafted.

    • Gene.. Thanks for your words (of wisdom 🙂 ) Adam really nails it with his portraits. They really are impeccable. Perfectly said.
      xKate

      • Great hands-on experience with the stills. He nibbles and depicts a highly vivid image of his targets without hollow concessions:)

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