Interview: Adam Ekberg

Sarah Stankey: Who/what has inspired you to create images?

Adam Ekberg: I am inspired by a wide variety of things. My interest in creating ephemeral moments comes pretty specifically out working for several years in an assisted living / hospice facility. Also, I have been thinking a lot of my earliest childhood memory of late which involves a serial arsonist burning down the barn behind my child hood home. As a small child I watched it burn to the ground while holding a glow stick given to me by a neighbor of my parents. I have also been thinking a lot of some years after college when friends of mine and I lived in remote places. In sum I like to think I am mythologizing my experiences.

Untitled 2010 © Adam Ekberg

Sarah Stankey: You mention on your website that photography "can serve as metaphor for existence." What might that metaphor be?

Adam Ekberg
I suppose that is acknowledging the ephemeral things in my pictures tend to mirror qualities of human existence. I am really into the place where photography and performance intersect- while my work is largely photographic there is a lot of performative aspects outside of the frame to make the moment that the picture is made. The ephemeral nature of the performance and the photographic moment is analogous to existence.

Aberration #5 2006 © Adam Ekberg

Sarah Stankey: Do you spend a lot of time experimenting with your work? For example, were the 'Aberrations' an accident at first?

Adam Ekberg:
The 'Aberrations' were a complete accident but I am rarely that lucky. I like to fidget with things (like the picture where I wedge a cocktail umbrella in a Bic lighter). The word experimenting might be too scientific for what I do. A lot of the pictures come out of either a desire to see something realized in the work or the result of restless tinkering.

Levitating Pink Unbrella 2010 © Adam Ekberg

Sarah Stankey: From viewing your photographs I can see that you must have had fun with what you are doing. Which is more important in your work, the final image or the performance and act of creating the ephemeral event you capture?

Adam Ekberg:
They are both important. I work so hard to make the picture a perfect record of the event but the making of the event is almost always better. It depends on the picture to a degree. The aberration pictures were pictures of nothing and the effect of making concentric circles of rainbow was not seen through the lens where as Outpost #1 that I made last summer with my friend and his daughter was a really wonderful thing to be present for. During the afternoon I dragged all the materials I needed out into the woods on the bank of a river (tiki torches, a generator, colorful lights, gas, extension cords, etc). We set up this scenario with the lights and the torches and made a series of exposures as the sun faded. I think the resulting picture is great but it can’t touch being out in the woods watching this thing we had made radiating colorful light.

Disco Ball on the Mountain 2005 © Adam Ekberg

For more information visit Adam's website adamekberg.com

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