Ricky Adam was born and raised in Northern Ireland and first discovered photography at the age of 16 after he took a few photos with a camera from his friend's dad. Being from a hardcore BMX/punk background himself, Ricky began to shoot photographs of friends in the different scenes that he was involved with and made regular contributions to DIG BMX Magazine who are based in Belfast. Ricky considers himself lucky enough to be able to travel the world with 'fellow weirdos', documenting the many unique aspects of BMX life.
Three of Rick's Photo Postcard's were taken in the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland in a punk D.I.Y. space known as the ‘Warzone Centre’ between 1997 - 2003. After opening in 1984, the ‘Warzone Centre’ became the counter-cultural alternative hub for the greater Belfast area and beyond. It soon became infamous as being one of the most credible venues in Europe for D.I.Y. punk. Belfast during this period had just seen the end of a tragic and violent war and so it is obvious why the punk movement would appeal to the youth. A movement that derives from a dissatisfaction with the establishment and that enforces an unapproachable aesthetic that may keep you safe from falling victim to aggression from others. Punk is an armour for some to feel protected, as well as a means through which to channel dissatisfaction. Ricky's photographs are dynamic and the subjects often give looks to the camera, revealing the photographer to be 'one of them' rather than an outsider looking in.
In his own words 'you can’t photograph the sound. So, instead, I try to photograph and capture the energy in a way that’s equally as powerful to what’s going on in that moment and present it in a still image. Photography is storytelling with pictures and if I’m photographing exciting things it’s important to reflect this in the final images.'
You can find these three Photo Postcards featured in Rick's most recent book Belfast Punk (warzone centre 97' - 2003') which is available here.
His fourth Photo Postcard is taken from his Street Photography series The Facts Don't Matter. Similar to the 'up close and personal' style of Dougie Wallace, this series provides social commentary of particular aspects of western culture. By capturing moments of every day life and combining it with genius in composition and expert timing, Rick manages to create satirical narratives out of still frames.
This photograph is initially funny due to the juxtaposition of the woman's forlorn expression with the 'fun' signs that exclaim 'Let's Celebrate', the last thing this woman looks like she wants to do is celebrate. However, beneath the image is quite a serious and saddening subtext that tells of a world wherein the harsh realities of modern day living rarely allow us to live up to the way we are told we should be living by corporations and the media. We are rarely as happy as the adverts suggest we should be, creating a culture of anxiety that matches the distressed expression of the woman seated in this photograph.
We are delighted to have Rick Adam as a contributing photographer to our upcoming Photo Postcard exhibition. If you would like to find out more about the project please visit http://bit.ly/2r0MUE4.