People of Austin Profile Series
Inside their South Austin studio, the former home of a gospel church, there’s a good chance you might catch husband-and-wife-team Adam Voorhes and Robin Finlay experimenting with camping matches in order to make a fireball or simulating a wrecking ball crashing through a wall. The pair is the creative force — he the photographer, she the prop designer — behind the highly compelling graphic images appearing in Wired, Variety, Details and O magazines (and this month, TRIBEZA), among others. After meeting eight years ago at a magazine, the duo recognized there was more to their relationship than just the work. Here they share with TRIBEZA what type of projects excite them, how they progressed from being just co-workers, and what they do to relax.
ON FINDING THE PERFECT SPACE
Robin Finlay: It was a full-on church when we came to look at it. It had pews and royal blue carpet everywhere and gold angel statues and a walk-in baptismal.
Adam Voorhes: Just think about photo studios in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland — they’re all in old buildings that were warehouses. I don’t think there’s one left in Austin. [A building with] 6,000 square feet and a 20-foot ceiling? Church.
ON WORK THAT EXCITES THEM
AV: If you think it can’t actually be done, and nobody else will do it, that’s the stuff we want to do. It’s difficult, we have to figure out a way to pull it off and make it safe enough to execute. I like that the most.
RF: If you want to do something that’s slightly illegal or crazy or could break your equipment, call us.
THE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2015
RF: We’ve had more national covers this year than we’ve ever had. We had three Atlantic covers, and two Fortune covers, two for Money magazine, and every time it happens it just seems surreal. Afar, the travel magazine, there’s an art director there who saw our stuff and approached us and said “I really love what you do, but I want you to do it in white,” which took out the element of color that we were relying on. It was really conceptual and they really pushed us.
CURRENT SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
AV: For me, Instagram is huge because there are people I’ve been inspired by since I was in school whose work I can see. [They’re posting] stuff that they’re doing for clients, but also personal things — a little slice of life — and that’s really fun.
ON DEEPENING THEIR RELATIONSHIP
AV: It started as a professional relationship then it became a friendship. Robin would go out of her way to make projects for the magazine that I would be interested in and then we would collaborate. One day, it was the weirdest thing, it was actually like a switch flipped in my brain and all of a sudden my brain was like, “You are really into this girl.”
RF: I remember the phone call. I was driving on Ben White, and my mom was in the car. It’s Adam, and I’m like, “Oh, he wants to talk about work,” and I pick up the phone and he’s like, “I think we should have drinks and I think I like you,” and I’m like, “Mom, I think I have a problem.” I didn’t want to lose my best still-life photographer.
HOW THEY UNWIND
RF: Our biggest relaxation — we order delivery sushi and we sit in bed with our bulldogs and watch sci-fi.
AV: Our home is kind of our sanctuary.