From Leo Hsu’s review of Adam Ekberg’s monograph, “The Life of Small Things,” in Issue 85 of Fraction Magazine:
Ekberg’s photographs are coy. They appear to be documentations of experiments, where an object is acted on in order to observe the result, but the images are also performances. The juxtapositions are surprising and humorous, and display an instinct for the way in which wonder can spring from an unexpected application of rational principles. Ekberg’s visual reports feel both unlikely and entirely correct.
Brought together as a book, Ekberg’s photographs become something else entirely. Beyond each photograph’s role as a documentary testament, it’s also descriptive of a certain world that feels consistent across the pictures. A world of farms and city apartments, forests and lakes, nearly completely devoid of human presence, forms a very specific kind of a backdrop for these fantastic occurrences. It’s a context absent of digital technology, of automobiles or airplanes; no technology at hand in Ekberg’s constructions is less than 70 years old. The photograph of a disco ball in the forest is not of just any disco ball; it’s of a particular disco ball, just as the ball is in a particular forest at a particular time of day. There’s a nostalgia for material and an affection for sensations of light, cold and heat. The sameness of mass-produced objects has been refuted by the act of photography. Is this Ekberg’s message, that the pre-digital era allowed us to appreciate small wonders, to see and hear what the embodied world might permit?