Born in Erlangen, Bavaria, Kay Adams works as a psychologist and creates photos both as a part of his job and as compensation. When he was sixteen Kay became interested in photography, starting with digital but then switching almost completely to analog photography. He work with all sizes, ages and types of cameras, eventually encouraging him to start developing and printing his images by hand. Not wanting to shoot the same pictures as everyone else, Kay found a new approach to photography that involved alternative and experimental developing methods. This led to his recent project of up-cycling “wasted” shots to spare them a lifetime locked away in a drawer.
“Let’s get things straight right from the beginning. I did not study photography and I don’t really like calling myself an artist or a photographer. I have the big advantage of not having to please someone with my photos because I don’t have to rely on that income. This gives me the chance to play with the different analog materials and I can follow where my passion guides me. Experimenting with Polaroids started because I simply could not get any good results shooting Impossible Film at the beginning. I used to have a Polaroid 600 Camera and thought I could use my new SX-70 as sort of a point-and-shoot camera that would instantly deliver perfect results like the old one did. I didn’t bother to read the manual or any explanations given at the Impossible Project website and therefore I completely wasted my first two packs of film.
Since I have shots of different ages and film types, there are always new things to discover and new failures to make.
Being angry about having spent that much money I started to experiment with the ‘failed’ shots. Once I get into my crazy scientist mode I see things and start wondering, ‘What would happen if…?’. So I decided to stick completely white Polaroid in the microwave and, after almost blowing up the thing due to the aluminium, I threw the burnt shot in a bucket of water and completely forgot about it. Almost a week later, I found some water stuck between the emulsion and the clear plastic making the whites change color and wiggle like some strange octopus. I tried to replicate it because it reminded me of some Mordançage images I once saw in an old book. While burning, cutting, boiling, bleaching and using syringes to insert water between the layers I found a way of creating that wavy wrinkly look you can see in the pictures now.
By that time I was getting better at shooting with my SX-70 and therefore ran out of old images. I hit the internet and posted that I was looking for wasted shots to manipulate them. Not even 4 days later I received boxes full of old, blurred, halfway exposed, over and underexposed shots to play with. I was amazed by the reactions I got, because the people donating the pictures to me actually liked the distorted and ‘upcycled’ result way better than the original shot. Since I have shots of different ages and film types, there are always new things to discover and new failures to make. But that also means that this project will continue for some time without having a certain goal in mind, always transforming as the experimenting continues. At this moment I feel like being right at the beginning of understanding the impossible possibilities this medium offers!”