Adam Nadel, AB’90, went from anthropology
major to award-winning photojournalist.
His first published photograph, Adam Nadel says,
“was probably in the Maroon.” Since then his
images have appeared in Newsweek, Time, Stern,
and the Sunday Telegraph, and his photo essays have covered
such diverse subjects as a boxers’ training camp in Thailand
and “Three Weeks with the Palestinian People,” the first-place
news picture story in the 2002 Pictures of the Year International
competition. His latest international award came this year, as his
“Sierra Leone amputee football team” (see pages 52–53)
won World Press Photo’s first prize for sports feature singles.
On September 17 “Three Years of Pictures,” his fourth
solo show, opened at the Chester (Connecticut) Gallery.—M.R.Y.
Courtesy Adam Nadel
Upon graduation I was quickly struck by the realization
that I was somewhat clueless about taking photographs. So I got
jobs at very small newspapers and began to learn all kinds of things—like
how to use a flash. After freelancing in New York for a few years
AP hired me.
When I began working I set a few goals for myself.
One was to be staff at AP. It seemed a good idea at the time. Once
I arrived at the intended destination it was another issue entirely.
I wanted the freedom to shoot what I was drawn towards. Freelance
was the only option.
I’m not really sure how I’d define
a good photograph, although Leo Hsu, AB’91, AM’92, and
I have a lot of conversations about this subject. I think we might
address the question by rephrasing it: “Where do particular
photographs appear and why?” I’d do so to avoid the
question of “good” because I guess I did not pay enough
attention during my common-core classes and don’t know what
“good” is. One makes aesthetic judgments every day,
and I find it very difficult to provide a nonintuitive justification
for assigning quality to an image.
I spend a great deal of time looking at photography
and have never felt “influenced,” but often a bit humiliated
by, a great number of photographers. For the last few years I have
been looking at a lot of landscapes.
After the gallery opening in mid-September,
I hope to travel to Sudan and Chad to continue a long-term project
on civilians and modern warfare. I hope to complete that project
in a year or two—it’s getting the better of me at this
point! I’ve also been working on a number of land- and skyscape
projects. There’s a project on circuses I’ve been shooting
for years, but that won’t be done for another decade or so.