SPOTLIGHT: Phil Adams, Gittings Global, London

With a career trajectory that began by capturing images inside a nuclear reactor and is now centered on snapping the moment a portrait subject lets their inner self shine, Phil Adams has always been determined to find the spark that makes a photograph stand out. Learn more about Phil through the following Q&A!

Q: How many years have you been a photographer?
A: I’ve been a professional photographer for about 23 years.

Q: What do you like most about being a photographer?
A: The best thing about being a photographer is the variety of what I do; no two days are ever the same.

Q: Who inspires you?
A: I became a photographer because my friend was one. He looked like he had a really nice life at the time – and he still does.

Q: What is your first memory of picking up a camera with serious intent?
A: I distinctly remember going absolutely all out to win a national photography competition as a student. I shot two images that were way beyond my usual level and came in second. That result, as it happens, was largely irrelevant. It was the process, and the images that changed everything.

My big take away was that I had it in me to raise my game, that I could be pretty good at this, and that I really loved shooting portraits.

Q: Do you ever shoot with a film camera?
A: I have shot with a film camera in the past, but not for at least a decade. It’s always on my list of things to do, but never near enough the top to actually happen.

Q: What is the most interesting photoshoot/subject you’ve ever photographed?
A: My career began by shooting all sorts of weird and wonderful things for the press. I think the most awe-inspiring place, though, would have to be inside a nuclear reactor!

Q: What is your favorite aspect of portrait photography?
A: It’s the intimacy of portrait photography that I enjoy the most – the give and take, the working with a subject to help them get the image that they are looking for, even if they didn’t know what that was at the beginning of the session.

It’s a little dance, a brief collaboration and it’s great fun.

Q: When you are not creating portraits for work, what kind of photography do you enjoy?
A: Strangely enough – so keep it quiet – when I’m not working, I don’t really take many pictures. Shhhhh.

Photography was never actually a hobby of mine so I’ve always had more of a professional relationship with it. I love it to bits, and it’s the best job in the world, but when I punch out at the end of the day, I usually put the camera down, too.

Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?
A: My favorite holiday destination is probably the Greek Islands. I have family there, so it’s a great place to properly chill out for a couple of weeks. Warm sea, cold beer, and amazing food.