My photographs are spiritual metaphors that explore the relationship between self, other and the sometimes vast space in between, which both contain them and set them free from one another. The combinations resonate willfully yet unknowingly with each other, expanding past the borders that confine them, creating a new space with metaphysical boundaries. The ambiguous relationship is both mine with the subject and the viewers with the relationship between images, creating an emotional rather than physical connection between pairings, hopefully asking more questions than they answer.
“What is essential is invisible to the eye. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.”
- Antoine St. Exupery
Douglas Beasley’s personal vision explores the spiritual aspects of people and place and is concerned with how the sacred is recognized and expressed in everyday life. He hopes that his photographs act as prayer-like offerings, as a departure point for the viewer’s own visual or spiritual journey.
After receiving a BFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he also studied Eastern Religions and Native American culture, he worked for several prominent commercial photo studios as a photo assistant and darkroom slave. Both helped him develop a appreciation for attention to detail, lighting and technical proficiency but left him longing for artistic self-expression. He then opened his own studio in Minneapolis, MN emphasizing commercial and editorial fashion. As a strong feminist, he considers himself the world’s most unlikely fashion photographer but greatly enjoyed the creativity and spontaneity of fashion photography. This evolved into shooting extensively throughout the country and internationally for various advertising, educational, public service and non-profit clients. Doug currently works on fine-art based commercial projects around the world.
Much of his personal work is supported by grants and commissions and is widely exhibited and collected. In 2010 he had a permanent installation at the Castillo D’Albertis Cultural Museum on Sacred Places of North America. He has been published internationally and featured in numerous photo magazines such as Zoom, The Sun, B&W, PDN, Shots and PhotoVision. His first book Japan; A Nisei’s First Encounter, offers insight into his journey to his mother’s Japanese homeland. His most recent book Earth Meets Spirit was published by 5 Continents Editions of Milan, Italy and is distributed by Abrams.
As founder and director of Vision Quest Photo Workshops, Beasley provides workshops that emphasize personal expression and creative vision over the mechanics of camera use. He believes in helping each student find their own voice rather than making anonymous ‘pretty pictures’. His workshops are held at art and cultural centers across the US and in Ireland, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, Italy, Norway, Japan, and China as well as the Trade River Retreat Center, his cabin/retreat center in Northwest Wisconsin.
Doug continues to explore the notion of what is sacred in his photography and in his own life. He lives in a small passive solar home surrounded by trees in Saint Paul, MN and when not out traveling the world he can be found tending his Japanese gardens or enjoying a strong cup of coffee while listening to loud music. Personal heroes include Jimi Hendrix, the Dalai Lama and whoever invented the espresso machine.