“He’s only 12 inches tall. I found it at a car boot sale’: the best phone photo of John Adams | Photography

AArtist John Adams worked for years with assembly boxes – eccentric curio cabinets in the tradition of Joseph Cornell – before moving on to larger dioramas. Adams, an ex-teacher, wanted to think bigger. In his studio he places a group of objects on the table, like a still life.

“I have a shelf in the back that I can paint or drape material over,” he says. “For this piece, I added a box with a drilled hole and put this doll in it. He is only 12 inches tall. I think I found it at a car boot sale, or a toy store. Then I decided to create a garden: they are mostly cheap plastic plants from Aldi.”

Adams spent a few weeks working on this tableau, which was about 90 cm by 120 cm, on and off. This photo, taken with his Huawei P smartphone, took about three hours to take, with tweaks along the way. “I don’t need a digital camera,” Adams says. “It comes out razor sharp on a 3ft by 2ft print or canvas.

“There’s always a part of you that thinks, ‘I can’t destroy this after that’, but it’s the picture I’m working towards. Once that’s done, it’s time to dismantle and make room for a new idea.”

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