At a first glance, it would seem that the photographs of Bobby Neel Adams are just another Photoshop project, but they were actually done using a technique that the artist calls “photo surgery”. Adams has been using this photomontage method which involves altering pictures through “manual excision, collage, and sometimes defacing of the subject” since the late 80’s. He has used this practice in three of his most popular collections: Couples, Family Tree, and Age Maps.
In the Age Maps Collection, Adams fuses a childhood photo with a current photo of the same person. The torn edge represents a jump-of-time which bridges the two photos together. Adams’ purpose for this collection is to “telescope the slow process of aging into a single picture.” In the Couples Collection, Adams spliced together people who are married or in long-term relationships. He sees this photo-fusion of two people becoming one as a “visual representation of their unique commitment.” For his Family Tree Collection, immediate family members are bonded together to examine “the visual DNA passed from generation to generation.” To accomplish this, Adams takes individual photographs of both subjects, sizes and prints them at the same proportions, and then manually tears and glues them together. Sounds like the perfect project to give to the next person who tells you that you look just like your (fill in the blank).
Bobby Neel Adams‘ work has awarded him several grants and has been displayed both nationally and internationally. To see more of his eerie fused photos, check out Adams’ entire Couples, Family Tree, and Age Maps Collections.