January 5, 2009
Via my work with 20x200 and Hey Hot Shot I see the portfolios of hundreds if not thousands of photographers, and I'm struck by is how very few photographs—even photographs by very good photographers—are truly memorable. Juliana Beasley has a knack for taking memorable photographs often of subjects who live in the underbelly of society (drunks, strippers, the insane, and the unloved). When I first encountered Beasley's project "Rockaways" a few years ago I think my impression was that the images were striking but that the work showed little compassion for their subjects. But over time the portraits of broken men and hard weary women photographed in harsh light worked their way into my subconscious. I realized my original assessment was completely off base. I mistook her bracing clarity for sarcasm. Many of the images are simply unforgettable. They stick with you. I've since been impressed by the range of Beasley's work and her ability to tell stories most people don't want to hear. She recently started a blog and I'll definitely be following along.
Note: The image above is from Beasley's series on Cambodian land mine victims, it came to mind today while watching this tangentially related but equally courageous story on Cambodian Sex Slavery by Nicholas Kristoff in today's New York Times.