Colorgrams: Combining Psychology and Analog Photography Accidents

All images by Kay Adams. Used with permission. Editor’s Note, in a previous version of this article we referred to Kay as a woman. Kay is actually a man! We apologize for this error.

“I am currently working as a Psychologist, creating photos both as a part of my job and as compensation.” says photographer Kay Adams in his email to us. “Ever since I was 16, I tried to get my hands on everything related to photography. I started digital, but switched almost completely to analog photography.” Born in Germany in 1989, Kay cites a sense of deeper connection to her analog romance. He calls this series his “Colorgrams” and in some ways, they remind me of Rorschach drawings.

For Kay, digital photography just didn’t do it. He would shoot thousands of photos but never looked at them again. “That’s different with my prints.” he states about his Colorgrams. “I work with all sizes, ages and types of cameras I can get a hold of. My gear ranges from an agfa clack to an old wooden travel large format camera.” For most of us that shoot analog, I’m sure that we can relate. When I shoot a whole lot, I tend to not care about going back to looking at those images. But with film, I surely do.

“I develop and print by hand as well using an old durst enlarger.” explains Kay. “My passion besides classical photos is to create something off the beaten tracks. I love getting physical with my artwork, and I love turning ‘trash’ into art.” Of course, for Kay it’s partially a tactile thing: a sense that it sometimes tough to get in photo prints when the entire scene is very visually based.

Kay recently started using only “wasted” or “boring” shots trying to upcycle them. She loves the work done by Nils Karlson, Robin Cracknell, Andrew K. Thompson, Ajay Malghan but usually gets inspired by thinking “Will it work?”.

Here’s more from Kay:

“Those photos are created by using various alternative photographic processes and are done on different expired papers (RC and baryta). the main thing they have in common is, that they start as a chemigram using only light from the enlarger and fixer/developer. The chemicals are applied with a brush, your hand, a soaked cloth, a spray can…… After that, it’s time to hit the bright sunlight. That’s where the colors are created. I then apply fix/developer again, trying to restrict the flow of the chemicals by using washing soda, wax, vaseline etc. I usually don’t fix the results because they loose a lot of color, but this means, that I can only show the pictures for a short duration because they still change once exposed to light. I used some of the results as paper negatives, creating new “positives”. I then use the procedure mentioned above on them as well! What I love about them, is that i tend to get sucked into them while looking at one of the colorgrams (that’s what I call them) because there’s endless details to discover.”