Adam Rokita

Where are you from/based now?

I’m currently based in Iowa City, USA. I moved to Iowa from Germany for a postdoctoral scholarship about a year ago. It is also Germany where I have spent the better part of my life so far, but I was born and grew up in Poland.

What is your background in photography? What got you started?

I’m a self-taught enthusiast. My passion about photography started almost a decade ago. In 2003, I spent several weeks in New York City. By that time I had a Pentax film point-and-shoot camera around that I got from my grand father. After a couple of days with taking pictures of the archetypical tourist places in New York, I discovered that there was something more interesting and creative beyond this approach, and this really drew my attention. This happened on one of these walks downtown while I was constantly looking to buy souvenirs. I was looking for a piece of “New York” to bring home. But, in this particular moment I figured that the pictures I would take would be more “New York” than anything else I could buy. Maybe it sounds odd, but looking back at it, this was a pretty magical event, and although my way of taking pictures and my style have changed many times ever since adding completely new levels to it, I have never lost the passion about it that started in New York. It took me another year to buy my first used SLR, and another year to set up a darkroom in my apartment. Between 2005 and 2011, I was taking pictures almost exclusively in black and white which I would develop and print myself in my little darkroom. In 2011, I became more and more interested in color photography. This was a little bit out of necessity because I knew that I would have to give up my dark room due to my transition to the US. However, very soon it became clear that this new option was more than interesting, and that this would become an exciting new route to go down.

What equipment do you use?

For the 6x7 format, I use a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and a 7II. I also use a Pentax 645N and a Leica M6 which are small enough to carry around all the time. I don’t shoot in digital.

What is your creative process?

I think that in the end I try to think about my pictures in plots or series. However, these series are usually only works in progress, and the narrative often develops only as the series moves on. So does the title. In the beginning, I usually don’t know where the series will take me, but after a while I can see a sort of a bottom line of it, and the title, and try to focus on it. So I grab my camera and go out – which most often turns out to be a creative process in itself.

What drives you to keep taking photos?

On the one hand, I like the process of taking pictures, particularly with the medium format, which is slow and sometimes like an instant meditation. On the other hand, our daily life and its visually charged, but often unappreciated scenes are a huge drive for me to keep taking pictures. I am simply amazed by photographic aesthetics.

Who or what inspires you?

This is a difficult question to answer because there are just so many great inspiring photographers out there. To name only a few - Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Joachim Brohm, Bernd and Hilla Becher. Most importantly, there are countless excellent photographers on flickr, and on this and other blogs that serve as my daily source of inspiration. Other than that, I am always inspired by music, films, art, architecture, daily life, news, emotions, but also certain light conditions and places. Actually, almost everything can be inspiring.

What does the future hold for your photography, and where do you want to go with it?
Turning my pictures into published books would be amazing. Concerning the pictures featured above, I have been planning to publish a photo book as soon as I have assembled enough pictures for a conclusive story. It will probably be a collection of 6x7, 6x4.5 and 35mm frames both black and white and color. I would also like to learn how to print color negatives in my darkroom – I am amazed by virtually all kinds of self-printed color prints. So far, photography has been great fun and inspiration in my daily life for almost a decade now. I hope that these intriguing and creative processes will continue, and we will see where it will take me one day. I am looking forward to it.

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