“Christian’s Cave sits like an all-seeing eye surveying Adamstown. It is so named, as this was the spot where Fletcher himself would sit as his own madness closed in – watching over the tiny community that he had founded and scanning the horizon for passing ships. I wondered whether Fletcher was looking for ships not to raise the alarm, but as a way out, and I ruminated on whether he was purposefully distancing himself from the goldfish bowl below.
I too took solace in the cave. Most islanders are unable to clamber up the steep slopes to its entrance, and those who can are disinterested. Loose rock and spiky “grab-a-leg” seedlings make the walk hair raising and uncomfortable. There are no barriers to be found, just a cliff edge vanishing into the blue.
I was happy to take the risk, as I knew that I would not be bothered up there. Though if I made the pilgrimage for privacy, that I did not find. There is nowhere quite as conspicuous Christian’s Cave.
It is visible in almost every outdoor photograph that I took, and visible from almost every home, a reminder of the Mutiny past. If Pitcairn has an iconic location, this is it.
This Polaroid, with its hazy and mystical appearance, seems to capture that invisible side of Pitcairn – the romantic and fantastical. To me, it represents that Pitcairn that many seek, and never find – the Pitcairn from the pages of the Bounty Trilogy, the Pitcairn replicated in sailor’s drawings or etched illustrations.” – Rhiannon Adam
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Big Fence / Pitcairn Island
The Pitcairn Islands are the last British Overseas Territory in the South Pacific. Pitcairn was permanently settled by the infamous Bounty mutineers and their Polynesian captives in 1790, and their descendents, now numbering fewer than 40, still live there today.
The tiny, isolated, volcanic island measures just two by one miles, is 400 nautical miles away from its nearest neighbour, and is the least populated jurisdiction in the world. Due to the infrequent supply ship schedule (the island’s only direct access), Rhiannon Adam was trapped on Pitcairn for three months, spending two of those living at Big Fence… READ MORE
Rhiannon Adam is a photographic artist, born in Cork, Ireland, in 1985. She currently lives and works between London and the US.
In 1992, her parents sold everything they owned and bought a live-aboard sailing boat, Jannes. From that point, her childhood became nomadic, moving from place to place, mainly around South America and the Caribbean. She eventually moved to London as a teenager to live her with aunt, enabling her to begin mainstream education. She later studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and at the University of Cambridge.
Adam’s work is centred on research-based, long-form, social documentary projects that make use of analogue photographic processes and archive materials, as well as her on-going obsession with Polaroid and the materiality of the photographic image. Her early life experiences have had a lasting influence on her work, with a focus on remote communities, the concept of utopia, and the fine line between fact and fiction… READ MORE