A Life Exposed
Robyn Beeche A Photographers Transformation
written by Lesley Branagan
Metro Screen | ISBN ALIFEXPOSED
Runtime: 52 minutes
Number of disks: 1
DVD region: ALL
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In the 1980’s, Australian-born photographer Robyn Beeche captured the energetic gender-bending era of identity exploration in London. She created many iconic images - from Visage’s Fade to Grey album cover, to the “puritan” image which inspired David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes film clip – and was celebrated for her ground-breaking, pre-Photoshop photographs of painted bodies through collaborations with counter-culture personalities Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Leigh Bowery and Divine.
Then, at the peak of her career, Beeche’s life was transformed when she experienced the Indian colour-throwing festival of Holi. In India she found the living embodiment of the highly stylised and constructed photographs she had been making.
“Drawn like a magnet”, she gave up her high-flying career for the life-changing move to the Indian pilgrimage town of Vrindavan. Twenty five years later, she continues to document the area’s vibrant traditions as spiritual service, and her extraordinary archive is prized by international scholars.
Seven years in the making by filmmaker Lesley Branagan, this fascinating documentary dramatically shows how India’s rich visual content paradoxically provided Beeche the chance to nourish her main themes (theatricality, illusion, transformation, androgyny) in a culture where they occurred spontaneously as religious expression.
Passionate, active and articulate, 67-year-old Beeche continues to function as a spiritually-motivated visual anthropologist, documenting rituals that are rapidly changing due to modernisation and creating a body of photographs that are both unique and beautiful.