Project Description

Val Adamson was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1961 and moved to South Africa after graduating from Napier College in Edinburgh with a Higher Diploma in Photography in 1984.

During the five years Val spent as the photographer for The Playhouse Company, she held two exhibitions, Caught in the Act (1988) featuring images of performers of the theatre and AGFA’s Textured Lives (1992) featuring portraits of top performing artists in unusual outdoor settings.

Following the success of her career at The Playhouse Company, Val launched her freelance career as a photographer in 1992. In 1995 AGFA’s Textured Lives II was commissioned. This exhibition toured South Africa until November 1996. The Wildlife Society of South Africa commissioned her in 1997 to produce an exhibition depicting Durban bay. In 2001 the Playhouse Company commissioned her to exhibit the Curve, for the South African Women’s Art Festival.

Adamson received a Fool’s Award in 2005 for her contribution in photography.

The range of her work extends from portrait photography to action photography, documentary photography to stills photography for film, and photography of theatre, and most especially the art form she has a particular affinity for, namely dance. With her eye and the camera’s lens she is able to capture the pinnacle moment of a movement or gesture or expression. Through careful and constant observation of dancers and performers at work, Val honed her craft into an ability to beautifully and artistically portray and preserve an art form that is so difficult to capture due to its dynamic and kinetic nature.

Val’s contribution to dance through her photography was recognised by the “Award for Dance Photography” at the 2012 KZN DanceLink Durban Dance Awards.

Most recently, her retrospective exhibition of her 30 year photography career, Love Dance, formed part of the National Arts Festival in July 2014, but was previously exhibited in Durban (July 2013) and at The Witness Hilton Arts Festival in the same year. The exhibition features some of the many dancers Val has captured, from Durban and around the world.

She is currently working on a new book “A New World Waiting” featuring 2 decades of portraits, including many from outside the world of performing arts.