Shelby Lee Adams
[Photographer, b. 1950, Hazard, Kentucky, lives in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.]
[My] portraits are, in a way, self-portraits that represent a long autobiographical exploration of creativity, imagination, vision, repulsion and salvation. My greatest fear as a photographer is to look into the eyes of my subject and not see my own reflection.
I’m pushing you, the viewer, and challenging you… By getting in there with the camera, by creating some distortions, I’m hoping to make everyone think. What is our job here as a human being? Stop making judgments and experience life.
I photograph people who are in pain, and I don’t want to make that romantic and ideal when they’re suffering. I photograph them looking at the camera in a very straightforward way and present their humanity to you in as straightforward a way as possible… if we don’t explore the dark side of our own selves and our own culture, then we’re not growing.