Adelaide Karina West was born in Tempe, Arizona, and before she could even walk, she was flying. Growing up as the eldest child of parents who served as volunteers on the world’s largest floating bookstores, she spent the first sixteen years of life sailing the world on three ships, experiencing the culture and people of over eighty countries. Adelaide began utilizing photography to “keep” memories of her life, and this evolved into her current art practice where she explores themes of place, memory, relationships, and connection. Adelaide is currently earning her BFA in Photography at Arizona State University, and will be graduating in the Spring of 2016. She has shown work at the Northlight and Harry Wood Galleries in Tempe, as well as participating in an upcoming group exhibition in Gallery 100.
The world shifts around me quicker than I would like it to, and I find myself with clenched fists trying to hold everything still; the camera helps me with this. I photograph places where the ghosts of my teenage selves live, to try and stop them from fading. Maybe if I catch them in a picture, they won’t leave, they’ll always be there. Most recently, I have been making work about my sister and our transition to adulthood, almost desperately trying to preserve this chapter of our relationship before it starts to change. At surface level, my work is about our connections to our surroundings, and the ways we try to hold onto those connections.
On a more subconscious level, I’m inspired by memory and the way we trust photographs to keep our memories safe for us. All of these photos are either staged or framed intentionally to capture a specific moment or idea. The role that photographs play in documentation is very interesting to me, as I have found that often I remember things and events solely based on the images that exist of them, even if the photograph isn’t an accurate depiction of the reality. Over time, the memory itself is nearly completely replaced by the photograph. When I look back on them in the future, will I believe them to be absolute truth, a record of the way things really were? My work seeks to press into this idea and explore the triggers of memory found in photos, especially location and body language.
To view more of Adelaide’s work, please visit her website.