Through the lens of Wallpaper* contributor Davey Adesida
‘Through the lens’ is our monthly series that throws the spotlight on emerging photographers who are Wallpaper* contributors. Here we explore their vision further
New York and London-based Davey Adesida hasn’t followed a traditional career path. After finding himself more enriched by assisting and studio work than university, he decided to leave his studies in pursuit of his career, often working on multiple jobs in a day. ‘It builds you up. Makes you stronger and you can face any obstacle,’ the photographer explains of the intensity.
One thing he did carry through from his studies is the art of shooting with slide film, which is just one of the many features that sets his work apart. He has since worked with the likes of Converse, Christian Roth and J.Lindeberg. For the Wallpaper* September 2020 issue (available for free download here), Davey turned his large format camera lens towards jewellery designs by Matthew Harris, founder of New York brand Mateo.
Wallpaper*: Describe your style and process
Davey Adesida: It can be very personal. Sometimes I’ll get inspired after I watch a film – I watch a ton of old foreign films. Four years ago, I was really into Hitchcock, now I’m into classical French and Italian cinema. I like the colours of French director Eric Rohmer. Sometimes I even like technicolour films. I love the nature of Terence Malick. I like the darkness of Tarkovsky. I like the black and white’s of Antonioni. It’s all a mix of everything really.
W*: Tell us about how you brought your way of working to this particular shoot
DA: I shot on my large format camera. I really like the detail from that camera and lens even though it’s a pain in the ass to work with. There was jewellery from a designer and a model and I just winged it! Ahead of the shoot when I saw the brief from you guys, I immediately thought of photographing an African woman, kind of inspired by the early 1900s Nigerian portrait photography of the Fulanis. The colours and tones are all true to the film with minimal post-production. I really dislike photoshopping my work so rarely do it, I prefer to focus on getting everything kind of perfectly on camera or the darkroom.
W*: What do you think is the most interesting thing happening within photography now?
DA: I like that Black photographers are finally getting recognition. It’s been long overdue and how we’ve been ignored for decades is mind-blowing, but also speaks volumes for the world we live in.
W*: What’s on your radar?
DA: I recently re-watched The Conformist by Bertolucci and there’s a scene where the camera moves romantically while a really nice classical requiem plays in the background. I keep going back to that scene, almost every day. I hope I get more travel jobs. I’d love to document beautiful locations and cultures around the globe. Maybe for Wallpaper*!
W*: What’s next for you this year?
DA: I’ve learned over the years that you should do something first and then talk about. §