Q & A with Local Photographer Jack Spicer Adams

Hello Jack,

We have been rubbing shoulders so to speak since my early days with Grapevine. You were photographer at the first Dine Birmingham event at Millennium Point. Since then we have bumped into each other at various parties including El Borracho, Seasonal Markets v Leftoot and a few bar launches, and more recently we have worked together for The Saracen’s Head Inn Symonds Yat.

It is always a pleasure to see you, a big smile and that trendy Byrds style haircut all adds to the mystery.

This is an opportunity for the people of Birmingham to find out a bit more about what you do, your passions and where you are headed.

Jack Spicer Adams Q&A

Q – Firstly, please could you tell me what inspired you to become a photographer.

Both my parents were into photography when I was growing up, my dad takes his hobbies pretty seriously so he bought a load of camera gear and leant me a digital camera when I was about 15. We used to go out taking photos together, it felt like it came pretty naturally to me so I stuck with it.

Q – Where did you learn your skills, and what made you realise you could make a living from this.

I learnt a lot of the basics from my dad and then just trying things out for myself, reading things online and trying to find out what the camera could do. I always like to mess around and explore new things, try something and see if I like it. I did an art foundation at college years ago, I specialised in photography but I’d kind of already made my mind up that I was going to try and make that my job by then. I knew I didn’t want to go to university and I felt like I wanted a creative career, photography seemed like a good balance between creativity but actually being able to make some money.

Q – What was your first paid job, your most enjoyable and the worst.

I remember one of my first jobs was taking photos of awful furniture in a freezing cold warehouse, these gross chandeliers that looked like they belonged in wannabe footballer’s houses, it was great that I was getting paid to do what I wanted to do but it wasn’t exactly glamorous. Looking back at it, it was a job that came to be one of the worst, I ended up doing it for years but all the people were horrible to me.

Some of my most enjoyable work is working with great people, I’ve made some good friends from shooting their stuff and I really get a buzz from working with other creative people. One of my favourite jobs is working with The Quarterworkshop (http://thequarterworkshop.com/) it’s such a beautiful space to photograph, it really puts me at ease.

Q – Could you explain what drew you to specialise in food photography.

My mate started up a food business at the Hare & Hounds years ago, I’d done some club photography for him in the past and he asked me to shoot his food, he told me that he thought my food photography was my best work so I believed him and started concentrating on that. That was years ago and the whole food scene has really grown in Birmingham now, I guess I timed it right because my business has definitely grown with it.

Q – What advice would you give to any aspiring photographers out there who wish to make a living from their talent.

You have to do what you want to do every day and have to keep making yourself better at it. You have to look at your work and think “is this good enough?” constantly be questioning yourself is the only way you’re going to be good enough for other people to want to pay you.

Q – What frustrates you the most about your job and what inspires you.

I hate the whole admin side of it, I really hate phone calls they always interrupt what I’m doing, I hate it when someone “wants to chat through” something, just write it in an email, I can deal with that later.

I get inspired all the time, it comes from everything around me, if it’s looking at Instagram or going to an exhibition, even if it’s just wandering the streets trying to look at things differently, it all feeds in.

Q – Are there any apps, websites or magazines you would recommend for budding photographers.

I mean it’s hard to overlook Instagram isn’t it, that’s where everyone seems to be right now. I try to use instagram less as a social media platform and more of a place to look at great photography, I want to log in and look at beautiful photos from all over the world, looking to see what other photographers are producing right now.

Q – What do you do for fun when not taking amazing photos. Hobbies etc.

Eating is a hobby right? I really like trying food I haven’t tried before, looking for restaurants I haven’t eaten in or trying to cook new things at home. I also love listening to music, me and my mate do a radio show on Brum Radio every Tuesday night, we get together, play some songs and chat nonsense for a couple of hours. 8-10pm Tuesday. brumradio.com #bigstrongboys

Q – What are the top five music listens for you in 2018.

  • John Maus – Hey Moon
  • Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
  • Sacred Paws – Strike A Match
  • Francis Bebey – The Coffee Cola Song
  • Deerhunter – He Would Have Laughed

I also have to recommend the album Cantos by Okonkolo, it’s fantastic!

Q – where do you see yourself in five years time, what are your aspirations.

It’s strange because I don’t really ever think like that, I’m always just thinking about what I’m doing next week or what my next mea is going to be. I just want to make beautiful images in whatever I’m doing, I want to take time for myself to make sure I can keep creating things, I don’t want my whole life to be about work.

Cheers, Jack.


Thanks for your time Jack, and hope to see you soon.

Nick Byng