Wouter Van de Voorde talks to local photographer Kayla Adams about Canberra skylines.
Wouter Van de Voorde: I have been following the work of Kayla Adams for a number of years with great interest. In particular her carefully composed renderings of the Woden skyline really sung out to me when sliding through my Instagram feed. When I recently asked Kayla to provide me with a short statement describing her work she wrote the following paragraph:
Kayla Adams: My photography has evolved from a blind form of escape and exploration of my environment into a search for an ideal form that only exists in the imagination. Ideas such as sightlines, distant urban forms, symmetry between forms artificial and natural all feature in my work as I search for the 'perfect' mix of all elements in a scene. I find that my photos remind me of fleeting scenes from a car window. The travel and study required to retrace steps to find the one position where relatively unnoticed individual objects such as distant towers, elevation and nature coalesce into an image is my new mediation.
You described your work as ‘a search for an ideal form that only exists in the imagination’. How did you develop this concept of an ideal image?
The ideal is really a constantly evolving thought. It is influenced a lot by my other passions regarding urban design and architecture and my travels to various cities.
One of your passions being urban design, are there elements of the urban planning in our city that don’t sit well with you?
The current 'town centre' layout is the first that comes to mind. It is a design point that ties in a lot with my photos in allowing nature and the city to exist in close proximity, but the plan is a hindrance to the actual efficient operation and growth of the city.
Could you describe what this ideal form would look like through the lens of your camera?
I don't feel the ideal is an achievable scene, it is an abstract of current and evolving ideas, an emotion.
Are there lots of ideal images to be found locally in Canberra?
I used to think not. Especially before spending time in Perth I thought of Canberra as being too sparse. However, lately I have really been invested in it's unique landscape as I find the small, dense areas of development balanced by nature to be very interesting and appealing to a want for a sense of symmetry.
Do you have a favorite location you keep revisiting?
Tall buildings! I have an almost magnetic attraction to towers so areas in Belconnen and Woden get quite a bit of revisiting. The Belconnen skyline from Crisp Circuit is my favourite spot.
I noticed that skylines are a recurring theme in your photographs, I remember seeing the Sydney skyline when I first visited Australia looking like the Emerald City. What makes you include skylines in a large portion of your images?
I find skylines are what I want to see. They're the meeting point of my scenes generally, and chasing interesting skylines and how they interact with the environment around them is a big driver for my being out and exploring.
How does working with analog cameras affect how you approach your work?
I took film photography as an escape from woodshop in highschool and I was taught how to be connected to the image I was creating. Film cameras are the only way I feel right in approaching my work.
Is your work influenced by any other photographers, film directors or visual artists?
A lot has been influenced by myriad photographers on online platforms, but I feel a very strong connection to Robert Adams' The New West. His images of the city of Denver and the balance he has seen between city and the disappearing nature in the American west hold a permanent place in my mind.
What story do you want to tell through your images?
The story would be my change in perception, in what I want to see and what I try to see in my environment.
Find more of Kayla's work on her Instagram