Eric Adams is a film photographer working in his hometown of Silsbee, Texas. His ongoing series, The Acre, about the plot of land where generations of his family have been raised and still live was exhibited at the Texas Artists Museum. His first series The Pines debuted at PhotoNOLA in 2014.
How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?
I like what Emmet Gowin said in an interview once, “I was a local person, living in a local situation… to make art about my own life, my own experiences.”
The small town that I’m growing up in has become a personality. A character built up of tall pine trees and a creek with brown water. This place has given me a great backdrop to work on. It’s the story I know, and I find it an honest way to work.
I think that art is best whenever it is created honestly.
Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?
I went to college in Beaumont, Texas, 30 minutes away from Silsbee, and there I came across Keith Carter and Prince Thomas. Those two photographers, together, create an astonishingly diverse and poetic place to create. They gave me a great deal of insight on making art and telling stories. Sally Mann and Emmet Gowin gave me confidence to continue working in my small town. I also find Jeff Wall’s approach to making a photograph very influential; to recreate from memory.
Where do you go to draw inspiration?
I just recently watched Fried Green Tomatoes again, something that my mom would watch whenever I was growing up. The movie reminds me of stories my grandmother told about her time during The Great Depression. The way that movie depicts the South is something I had forgotten, but really cherish. There’s that moment where the caretaker throws a sheet over a photograph and stops the grandfather clock as Marry-Louise Parker's character, Ruth, passes away from cancer. C’mon. That’s incredible. Some kind of folk and some kind of love for the simple, true, angry, and forgiving.
Do you feel creatively satisfied?
I do! I’m still living on “The Acre,” and my family has been sharing old stories more and more now. I feel very lucky to be in the place that I am right now. Lots to do!
Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.
I’m still making work for The Acre, and I just started working on a small project. I want to make a photo book with color film, science fiction narratives, and minor manipulations. I haven’t worked that way before, so I think it will be a healthy exploration.