Adam Fuss was born in London in 1961 and grew up in rural England, where he first began to document the natural environment through photography. This led to an experimentation with unconventional photographic processes and his eventual abandonment of the camera altogether. Fuss’s work is distinctive for its contemporary reinterpretation of photography’s earliest techniques, particularly the camera-less methods of the daguerreotype and photogram. Fuss believes that in order for any photographic technique to work, it should be personalized and transfigured into a greater metaphor, engaging processes that take place in the natural world.
Best known for life size photograms of water, Fuss’s evocative imagery is imbued by the spiritual and poetic. His deliberate distillation of the essence of photography – a flash of light on a sensitized surface – emphasizes themes of transformation and perception. Intentionally avoiding the detailed clarity of traditional photography, Fuss’s works are ghostly manifestations of light and shadow. As reviewed in The New Yorker: “A restlessly inventive photographer, Fuss has made some of the most exciting, mysterious and provocative images of the past twenty years.”
Roberta Smith, in reviewing Fuss’s work for The New York Times, wrote: “These images remind one of the early traditions of spirit photography, of van Gogh’s poplars and traditional Chinese landscape painting, not to mention the consuming power of fire. Most of all they offer in a new form the quality that is Mr. Fuss’s strength: breathtaking visual extravagance born of a combination of pure controlled chance and superb control.”
Fuss has lived and worked in New York City since 1982. Widely shown, his work is represented in many American and international collections, including: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.