Can you make an image on a tin can?

Yes, you can! In September this year, I had the pleasure of meeting with and seeing the work of David Emmit Adams, an emerging photographer who creates compelling tintype images on discarded cans he collects from Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.  Each piece a unique object, the image he chooses for each can is a photograph of the landscape where it was found. His use of this 19th century photographic process is imaginative and captivating.

Growing up in Yuma, Adams is aware of the history of both the landscape and the pioneering photographers who have captured countless images of this barren landscape. It is both a romantic and challenging environment. One that continues to serve as a muse for artists, but one that is also “wild”. Everything from clothing to discharged ammunition, car parts to abandoned motor homes, broken bottles to Adams’ now precious tin cans can be encountered on the desert ground. These collected cans speak to our imprint on the West, but they also have been aged by two of the elements most crucial to photography itself: light and time. Their surface forever changed its exposure to the elements.

With Adams’ images resonating long after our meeting, I was eager to share his work not only with my colleagues at MOPA, but also give our visitors a chance to see these unique work of art. Next time you come to MOPA, keep your eyes open for this piece as the next addition to our Help MOPA Buy This Print program. Your donations will go directly towards helping us add this to our permanent collection and support this contemporary emerging artist. To learn more about the program, click this link: Help MOPA Buy This Print