The first important early body of work by Adam Fuss was a series of pinhole photographs taken in the mid 1980s. The group, all gelatin silver prints, are important not only in their own right but also for the integral role they played in the evolution of Fuss's relationship with the photographic medium. Fuss first learned of the pinhole photograph method as a 15 year old, when, desperately wanting an Olympus OM, was told by his art teacher that "you can take the best pictures in the world with a pinhole camera" (Pinhole Photographs: Adam Fuss, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996 p. 5).
Later, shortly after a move to New York City, Fuss was working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and would sometimes walk through the classical sculpture galleries at night. He noted that, "These figures have a certain kind of life...at night they'd come alive, full of power and mystery...I thought about taking these pinhole pictures at night, completely alone, and it seemed possible to create or recreate a photographic space in which the scuptures could breathe. Also, behind my move in this direction was a reaction to the pervasive technological-consumerist photographic culture" (Pinhole Photographs, p. 6).
Two years, two trips to Europe and an exhibition later, Fuss was photographing the White House and "spaced out and forgot to uncover the pinhole" (Pinhole Photographs, p. 7). The end result was that light had seeped in and made a photogram on the dust on the inside of the camera. Fuss realized that he could "make a camera without the outside world...I could generate pictures myself" (Pinhole Photographs, p. 7).
Fuss's exploration in the photogram process has resulted in the rich tapestry of over 15 years of work involving a wide variety of subjects such as water, snakes in water, infants in water, rabbit entrails, plants, sunflowers, stained glass fragments, cow livers, birds, smoke, mushrooom spores, and simply light itself. However, throughout the wide range of materials with which Fuss has worked, there has been a faithful comittment to our organic world and to simultaneously "generating pictures himself."
Lots 112-124 are illustrated in Pinhole Photographs: Adam Fuss, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996, n.p.