PDN Photo of the Day

Body as Canvas in Pre-Photoshop Fashion

“It is fair to say that my work is often described as treading a line between fashion and art photography,” Robyn Beeche told an interviewer in 2014. Born in Sydney, Beeche was known for the work she made in London in the 1980s, documenting and collaborating with counter-culture personalities from the worlds of fashion, art and nightlife, including Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Leigh Bowery and Divine. Her best-known images employ wildly creative makeup and body paint, transforming her subjects into living works of art while exploring how the camera reveals or obscures these embellishments. Beeche, who passed away last year at the age of 70, is the subject of a retrospective, “Robyn Beeche: 1945 – 2015,” at Black Eye Gallery in Sydney, on view until February 28. The show also includes images Beeche made in India, where she moved in 1992, which document Hindu ceremonies in Vrindayan, Uttar Pradesh, including the color-soaked Holi festival. For Beeche, working in the fashion world and in sacred India were not entirely different—both offered an opportunity for collaboration and exploration. “I believe that everybody possesses ‘creativity’ whether it be a highly priced artist or it can be a craftsman in India designing and creating the most beautiful textile,” she said. “It is the anonymity which is the key — some have the opportunity of making money from it and some don’t even get exhibited, but the fashion and the creativity which lasts is that which remains so inspirational and if we seek to find it, it is all there.”

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