Avigdar Adams

Interview with Avigdar Adams

By Richard Stone

Avigdar Adams
Avigdar Adams

Avigdar (pronounced Avadar) Adams is a multifaceted artist whose talents as painter, photographer and performer are much appreciated by those who know his work. As a photographer, Avigdar specializes in human portraits typically using family and friends as models but placed in unfamiliar settings. After establishing some ground rules, he agreed to answer a few questions about the exhibit and his photographic choices.

Spectrum Gallery Photo Exhibit for the month of August Efren Ruiz-Ortega: Ni Aqui Ni Alla (“Neither Here nor There”) Avigdar Adams: Recent Portraits Receptions on Aug. 1 (5 p.m.–8 p.m.) and Aug. 18 (4 p.m.–7 p.m.) Spectrum Gallery 608 E. Olive Ave. in the Tower District
Spectrum Gallery Photo Exhibit for the month of August
Efren Ruiz-Ortega: Ni Aqui Ni Alla (“Neither Here nor There”)
Avigdar Adams: Recent Portraits
Receptions on Aug. 1 (5 p.m.–8 p.m.) and Aug. 18 (4 p.m.–7 p.m.)
Spectrum Gallery
608 E. Olive Ave. in the Tower District

RS: What is the focus and theme of the photographs in this show?

AA: They were all taken in a hallway in my house. It is a challenging setting—narrow, high, with a door at one end and a single light source. The setting alone is interesting to me—I took photos just of it that I like a lot. When I placed my models in that frame, I saw images with a kind of narrative possibility. I get an intuition of what might make a good picture.

RS: How do you select your models?

AA: They’re mostly people I know well. I’ve seen something in their faces or how they carry themselves that intrigues me. I call it “being photogenic,” but to me that doesn’t mean “attractive,” it means “having potential for a good picture.”

RS: How do the models react to the pictures?

AA: Some are very happy, but if the picture “doesn’t look like them” some can get upset and ask me not to show them, even though to me they’re beautiful. I try to explain beforehand that the pictures are not “of them,” but are simply pictures. But I do understand it’s hard to make the separation.

Interview with Avigdar Adams 3RS: What do you hope people will look at?

AA: I’m not trying to create realistic representations or reproduce beautiful objects. I hope people don’t get caught up in judging if the models are, say, pretty and graceful or not. I try to make compelling pictures using light and texture and composition as well as the presence of the models. I hope people look at the photographs as a whole, not at just the people.

*****

Richard Stone is a Community Alliance staff writer but hardly impartial in this case, being Avigdar’s partner for more than 35 years. He is nonetheless a great admirer of the scope, skill and uniqueness of Avigdar’s images and encourages readers to visit the Adams/Ruiz-Ortega exhibit at the Spectrum Gallery in August.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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