Vanitas still life painting is influential to the photographs I create in my series DROWNED. Vanitas comes from Latin meaning “emptiness” and the subject matter is often of skulls and rotting food. The subject matter is considered by some to be morbid in its depiction of death and decay. In these images we are reminded that life is fleeting and death is always lurking around the corner.
The softness of the images and short depth of field mimic a painter-like quality. In the tradition of Vanitas painting the decaying subject matter symbolizes the ephemeral nature of life and pays homage to the flora and fauna that teeter on the brink of extinction.
Bobby Neel Adams was born in Black Mountain, North Carolina and presently resides in Arizona on the Mexico Border. He has exhibited worldwide and his photographs are in the permanent collections of: International Center for Photography, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Station Museum, diRosa Foundation, and the Norton Family Foundation to name a few. Adams has received grants and awards from the Aaron Siskind Foundation, LEF Foundation, MacDowell Art Colony and the Hermitage. His book Broken Wings was published by the Greenville Museum in 1997. Adams is currently working on a series of Memento Mori photographs of insects, birds, and mammals.
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