The Role of Film with Patrick J. Adams

DAYTRIP What did you want to be as a kid?
Patrick J. Adams  [I] pretty much always wanted to be an actor. I don’t know if it was for the right reasons, in fact I’m sure it wasn’t for about a great picture and I think the nostalgia of pictures is what really appealed to me at first. So any time I saw a camera lying around I was just picking it up and playing with it. It felt like I had a purpose, like I could docu- ment it, like even though I maybe wasn’t as vehe- ment as some of these people were, or as involved, or educated, I still felt like I could play a role in it. the right reasons. I loved going to the movies and I fell in love with theatre the first time I saw it. Photography never really occurred to me as a possible job but it was my favorite hobby without even knowing it. I loved taking pictures, I loved getting the pictures back, and I loved taking more pictures. My good friend Jay Shuster had a lot to do with that too. He went to Ryerson and I came back [from university] and he was telling me everything he was doing at Ryerson and I felt this burning jealousy. He really changed everything ‘cause I always just had a person I could talk shop with. 


DT Who gave you your first camera or how did you acquire it? 
PA It would have been a camera that my dad had lying around. My dad’s a journalist and he always had a couple of cameras lying around. I don’t remember what the camera would have actually have been, but I’m sure it was something that I picked up off his desk. It seemed like there was something so peaceful 

DT  Can you recall the strangest thing you’ve ever photographed? 
PA  I was at the Amadou Diallo riots in New York. I was there to audition for NYU and the riots just broke out. There was a big group of people that was amassing and then it started to turn violent. One guy went running and I saw the cops pin him down and all of a sudden the march began. I had this whole series of photos of trashcans on fire and the first guy who got pinned with a planter knocked over. It felt like I had a purpose, like I could document it, like even though I maybe wasn’t as vehement as some of these people were, or as involved, or educated, I still felt like I could play a role in it. 

DT  Having moved what is your idea of home now?  

PA  That’s tough. I’m about to get married and being in love changes your sense of what home is. [Troian and I] have also been torn apart. She shoots in LA and I’m [in Toronto] and that’s the way it is for seven months out of the year. California’s where all of my friends are and all of the work that I’ve done to build a community for myself in the past ten years has been there.  

DT  grown away, up in and Toronto, returned; What has work impacted your photography?  

PA  As an actor, I like to shoot a lot of stuff on set and so it’s great if I’m shooting in Paris; it’s beautiful. You can steal away for a weekend here or there but if I’m on a really strict schedule of shooting on set I’m pretty tired and I don’t feel like [taking photos]. When I have a camera in my hand I feel like I have a purpose in the world and I really love that feeling. When my profession is to be in front of the camera all the time and to be the focus of everybody’s attention, it is such a relief for me to flip the switch traveling with your   on that, and so my favorite thing in the world to do is get somewhere new and put a camera in my backpack with a few rolls of film and just go; and do it alone. 
DT  So would you say that photography has more of an influence on your travelling or vice versa?  

PA  No. travel probably has more of an influence on my photography. I think if it were the other way around I’d be taking very specific trips to places to photograph them and I haven’t really done that yet.  

DT  Tell us about the show you did in Toronto  

PA I called it “See/Land” ‘cause I have a photo of this old mud tire that had “See/ Land” on it and it’s very much what that part of the world is; [My sister] lives on the Queen Charlotte Islands - now it’s called Haida Gwaii - with her son, Fisher. She lives this crazy existence out there and it’s kind of normal to me now, it’s normal to our family. [Living in Haida Gwaii is] one of the few things in my life I feel like I want to communicate to people. I have loved going out the over the years. It’s the place I always return to so I have pictures from the first camera I used to the cameras that I use now. I love going back and seeing how much better I’ve become [at photography] and also what new things I can see. [Those photos are] what I did last year for the show and I learned a lot putting that together.  DT  What’s the age difference between you and your sister? 

PA  [My sister is] six years older. She was an activist for a long time with Greenpeace and got out because she got arrested too many times. 

DT  What’s the first image that comes to mind when we say “Day-Trip”  

PA  A car, because that’s the dream, right? It’s just about being out the in a car heading somewhere you don’t know. Especially when it’s a cool group of guys and you all have cameras and it’s like: “What are we gonna find?”
DT  Have you ever looked at your wikipedia page?  
PA  I must have at some point. There was a time when it was really exciting and then all it takes it one thing that says: “Patrick is the poor man’s Aaron Paul” and you’re like “Ok I’m not reading this”
DT  Do you have a favorite Camera/Film Combo?  

PA  One of my favorite combos to shoot with is the Polaroid Land Camera with black and white film. [Troian and I] just bought a house in LA before I left last time and we were getting it all ready. It’s always a mess and everything’s in flux and I thought: “how cool is a house that’s in flux?” So while [Troian] was at work I went around and just shot all the weird piles of mess and things that were in the house. It’ll change soon. it’ll be gone and we won’t remember it because we’ll have gotten it right so I left all these beautiful little black and white polaroids for her and they’re just gorgeous.
DT  What’s the story behind “HalfAdams”?  
PA  It was a nickname that a lot of my friends called me. I don’t know why they called me halfadams but they did and I really liked it firstly because my Dad is the creative one in my family and his surname is Adams; and I liked the idea of stating in my own way that whatever is out in the public sphere is not all of me. Truthfully I think the real reason I got the nickname wasn’t something good... I don’t fully know what [the reason] is and there are a couple people that have different stories about it but I like what it has become.