Adam Shulman has a strong connection to the continent of Africa. Married to a Senegalese model, and living between the Middle East, West Africa, and NYC, he has immersed himself in West African, Middle Eastern, and NYC culture and fashion. As a self-taught photographer, Adam has pursued both digital and film media, and has shot everything from Arizona landscapes to NYC fashion photography. But Adam is a dynamic individual, and has spent the past year living and working in Ghana, West Africa, where he trained local medical professionals on modern cancer treatment techniques. He has also brought and trained professionals on life-saving equipment in Senegal, West Africa, and has led numerous other training endeavors throughout the continent of Africa continuously over the past six years. Adam has lived throughout West Africa and has seen the most beautiful aspects of African people, style, culture, and land. He has seen local African medical professionals take what little resources they have to save lives. He has seen families and friends share their homes, their food, their laughter, and their tears. He has seen a striking beauty in the human form as well as a harmony between the people and their environment. And through all of this, he has seen the beauty of life in its purest form in the people of Africa.
Adam's collection, entitled "Gold of Africa", metaphorically represents the gold of Africa as being the people and the land, and not gold itself. Showcasing beautiful African bodies covered in what appears to be golden, cracked, desert earth, each model captivates the viewer with overwhelming power and beauty. The mass of an entire continent lies behind their eyes or under the contours of each muscle or shadow. The gold seems to be a suffocating barrier at times, yet also somehow an extension of each model's body and soul.
Shot with 6x7 film on a Mamiya RZ67 manual camera, the images capture the essence and the magnitude of life.
Adam chose this medium for a purpose, for the feel of the image as well as the size. The actual film size leads to larger, crisper images, which has allowed Adam to capture the subtleties of each model which may have been missed using a different camera. But more importantly in choosing this particular media is the physical meaning of film based photography, and how that translates to the feel of each image and thus the emotions that are tied to them. Each time the shutter opens and closes, light from the scene creates a permanent image on the film: the visible film grain in the image is an attestation to this fact. The imperfections of the film grain are representative of the subtle flaws in nature that captivate the senses, and yet the smoothness of the image as a whole is representative of the fluidity of life. The images are crisp, powerful, and yet sensual.
Adam spent over a year shooting and editing this series. Shot in this series is a group of people as diverse as their countries of origin. The series consists of 19 images, 60 inches x 60 inches for the square images and 50 inches by 60 inches for the rectangular images. Accompanying the photographs is a series of five behind-the-scenes videos that capture the process behind the photographs and cultivate an emotional connection between the viewer and the art.