“Cushana, Pitcairn’s only child, waits for the frigate birds that circle the landing with detritus from the day’s catch, feeding the giant birds by hand. When they swoop down they appear bigger than her. More like Pterodactyls than birds. A storm was brewing, and a wall of rain was quickly approaching from the sea, as the wind was picking up, Cushana’s joyous yelps were vanishing with the gusts.
I watched her shiver with excitement and wait for the right moment to let go, just as the frigate had successfully grasped its prize.
Watching Cushana and the frigates reminded me that here we were at the intersection between man and nature… It is impossible to divorce the Pitcairners from their rock – the two are inexorably linked. The isolation and rugged landscape is as coarse as the personalities and attitudes of our living characters, as though they come from the pages of a book. It is as if their geographical location is a device or literary construct.
Sometimes the parallels between the island and its people can seem “too neat” a metaphor, but the intermingling of fact and fiction are Pitcairn’s reality.” – 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