Interview: Ricky Adam


I could write a long winded intro for this interview, but it would just be a wordy extended version of “I Love Ricky Adam’s Stuff”. So there it is, plain and simple.

I think anyone who is a fan of BMX and Photography would agree that Ricky Adam puts out great work and is very talented. I, in particular, have always been interested and curious about what people shoot outside of their respective fields and Ricky’s broad range of subject matter is another thing that keeps me checking for his stuff. Dude’s good.

So there you have it. Read on and enjoy!

-Nuno

I’m gonna dive right in with a simple, yet complex question. I tend to believe that most serious photographers of all kinds have to have a certain connection with their work and strong beliefs on how things should be. In your eyes, what does photography mean to you?

Taking pictures is something that I need to do, I love it. For me it’s like breathing. If I stopped breathing I’d be dead, if I stopped taking pictures I’d feel dead inside. I have always been passionate about photographing things that I have a burning interest in. It must come from within, otherwise what’s the point?

BMX & punk rock are two things that I have been interested & involved in for many years, long before I even picked up a camera. Some people call these activities a subculture or counterculture. To me it was and still is a way of life. They both mean a lot, they were staring me in the face and I eventually felt compelled to photograph these subjects. It was like second nature. I’d go to shows or be out riding with friends and take photos here & there. When I first started using a camera the streets & things I was seeing would take on real meaning.

I feel that it’s important to photograph certain points in time because once they’re gone, that’s it. Looking back there are certain shows and people that I wish I had photographed. I missed the opportunity simply because I didn’t have a camera.Photography gave me another way to express myself creatively. It’s also a great way to meet new people which is amazing. I’ve made a lot of great friendships through the medium.

Also, I have a terrible memory so when I look at old photos I shot it helps to jump start my feeble brain.

It’s a very gratifying feeling when you know you have a good picture in the can, a picture that resonates. I want other people to see what I see, I want to share the optimism, the energy and the enthusiasm of the subjects I photograph and give something back.

Ultimately I want to motivate & inspire people to go out and do positive stuff like pick up a bike and blast off a jump, lift a drumstick, sing in a band or even pick up a camera.

Tell us a little about where you’re from and what sparked your interest in photography? Was there a photo or a photographer that you discovered early on that set everything off?

I was born & raised in Northern Ireland and first discovered photography at the age of 16 after I took a few photos with my friends dads camera. I grew up with photography in my blood but frustratingly never had the money to buy a camera of my own until I turned 19, as soon as this happened that was that, I was terminally hooked. I was attracted to the immediacy of photography, I was always good at art and painted a bit at school but personally I found the painting process too slow. I’ve always been a collector of things: records, books, magazines (of which I have a huge collection in boxes in my loft) & whatnot so taking photos is sort of an extension of this.

There was a time when I was reluctant to show my photos to people as I felt they weren’t good enough. I have always been my own harshest critic and had a huge pile of photos that I kept in a box under my bed. After a while I learnt how to edit photos down, and to weed out what I saw as average. Eventually, once I had a body of work that I felt was good enough for public display, I started submitting photos to a few magazines that I respected. I can’t even start to imagine the hundreds of hours I’ve spent looking through the lens and I don’t want to begin to think about the amount of time I’ve spent in the darkroom.

Often it takes time to cultivate a collection of good photographs. A good photograph transcends & bad photography totally devalues good photography. I didn’t publicly show any of my photos until I had a decent set of pictures, only then did I make that transition from taking pictures to actually showing them in the public domain.

… but what do I know? I don’t even like to call myself a photographer, I’m just a guy who happens to take pictures.

  • http://picdit.wordpress.com adam

    I want this to be an audio interview, haha. So long…

  • jobbers

    Yo Ricky, i got a photo just like this! Just without the service sign!

  • http://www.sticks-and-stones-magazine.co.uk/ Robert Loeber

    Just an amazing and in depth interview!

  • Anthem 2

    Ricky Adam. a class act.

  • http://matt.fadeawayfast.com Matt Clarke

    Holy shit, that guy smashed up you Leica M6 in front of you, that’s horrible man.

  • Tyler Deschaine

    All time favorite photographer… I met him once in Kalamazoo, MI at Scott Towne’s birthday jam in ’05 and never even knew it. His urbanite collection is stunning. Keep it up Ricky! Your and inspiration to many world wide.

  • http://wheresweatyisntnice.com Mike Robinson

    Ricky’s a great photographer. When I saw his stuff in Hamburgereyes I was syched to see a bmx photographer getting noticed in the photography world outside of just bmx.

  • http://calebeveritt.com caleb

    Ricky Adams Rules. That first photo is tops.

  • http://www.naturalbmx.com NaturalBMX

    Everytime i see Defgrip updates in my RSS i’am always hoping for a Ricky Adams related post as i cant get enough of his photos and seeing this made my week for sure.
    Great job!
    More please.

  • http://lowcardrag.com kappy

    HAMBURGER EYES !!!!…….celly brain….love the snow pix of the riders in the storm,…….Gnargoyles!

  • Sean Zubek

    Awesome photos!