Rich Beckermeyer’s Epiphany consists of portraits of women shown through a nearly extinct modality of visual expression to explore points of transformation in a variety of life paths and temporal spaces. Made up only of selections from this ongoing body of work, this series is the first time it has been shown. The artist visited locations across the United States, capturing the relationship between women and their surroundings, with equal consideration being given to both setting and subjects. He captures the feeling of freedom and tenderness between model and environment as they lay, walk, swim, and sit, becoming one with the landscape.
Created on a Polaroid camera manufactured in the 1950s, these photographs are a study in the female form, both outward and inward, through their honesty and seductivity. As a series, they highlight the interactions of the various women and the environments they find themselves in. The style, in tandem with the pure relationships between the women and land, situate between the photographic styles of Hiroshi Sugimoto's time based work and Edward Weston's fixation on nature, touches on the surreality of the photos.
By adding the animalistic element of unpredictability to the human psyche, he takes a traditionally more controlled path to the context of studio photography so widely used throughout the world. He gives very vague directions to his models, harping back to the fact that the locations develop and evolve on their own terms, as should his human subjects. Though he creates each situation, pairing women and land, perhaps suggesting an initial look, the photographs are never pre-prepared: he allows the relationships to unfold naturally, photographing the outcomes. His approach to his work blends the lines between human and nature, gender and genderless, organized and documentary. He has taken the wild to the women and the women to the free.
Beckermeyer’s photographs are an ongoing series to be shown in a forthcoming monograph of his work, to be released in 2019.