I’m guilty, as most of us are, of sometimes behaving like I’m the most important person there is. The positive side to that is it can manifest as the desire to explore and touch the world, to head out into the woods as if the forest was made for no other reason that to be seen by you. There’s a hidden beauty in feeling like you’re the center of the universe. I think it’s a part of us that allows access to the kind of experiences of the Earth that Adam Gibbs captures in his photography. Experiences where everything else falls away, and it’s just you, in the center of the universe, and a landscape that makes you feel alone, but as though that’s the way it was always meant to be.
His work shows us the planet we live on, in incredibly detailed portraiture, and in a way I expect is meant to help us all remember what is real and essential. It’s hard to see the world as a common home when you’re crammed into a city. Cities make people defensive, naturally, and territorial. Sometimes it takes a great sky to show you what your soul already knows: how the world was made to be shown.
On a personal note, as an author, I find work like his deeply inspiring and equally frustrating. His ability to capture things I cannot completely narrate is exciting because it keeps me going back to try, frustrating though it may be how his photos look effortless while taking me so long to say on a page. Photos being worth a thousand words, sure, but the reality is that one can’t often take the place of the other. When I visualize stories, it’s because of artists like him.
Photos like his, adventures like his which show us the places we know we need to go, and allows us to revisit similar experiences or fantasies. For me, his work is exactly like all those books I read as a kid that made me want to put on a backpack and a daring hat and set out into the unknown.
I wonder if he’d be able to capture these things if he was living a typical life? He doesn’t, thankfully, not typical to those of us who live in cities, anyway. Adam chases these essential experiences all over the world. When he’s not working, he’s backpacking, exploring, searching out the moments we know are out there, if only we had the time to find them. If I could do it all over again, I’d want to be a naturalist, an adventurer, an explorer. That’s what he does, that’s his life, and he has the equipment and the skill to bring it back and show us.
Adam Gibbs has been working as a full-time photographer since 1991. Since then, he’s worked with, well… a long list of big names that you can read on his website: www.adamgibbs.com.
He’ll be at Art! Vancouver this year, May 25th-28th, showing us these things we should already know, and reminding us what our home really looks like.