A Close-up of “The Sickness”


Palette.“The Sickness,” by Rich Beckermeyer is in the Sac State Library’s Gallery right now. Beckermeyer is a photographer, filmmaker, and writer.

His work in this exhibition consists of very large photos, in the form of Dibold Metal Prints. This is where the ink is infused into the metal, aluminized metal. This makes the prints durable, water-proof, and shiny. Beckermeyer used his grandfather, and his failing health, as his subject. His goal was to engage with the overall conversation of aging, care, and end of life.

Many of his photographs are very close up, and all of them are very large. This gives such an intimacy to the viewer. It’s done in grayscale. The achromatic nature of the work gives it a little bit of emotional distance, and sets a tone of the past and memories, to the work. And, the shine to these types of metal prints always strike me as really springing them to life. It adds dimension to it, which highlights different aspects of the picture, as you move around.

We can see the small flakes of skin, coming off of the grandfather’s back. The oxygen tubing is blown up so large, and still is not contained inside the frame. The blow-up of a page of the bible is mostly blurry, because the grandfather was losing his sight, but it was still a huge part of his life. Making these items, these moments so large gives them such an emotional weight. You can feel how much these items meant to the artist, and/or his grandfather.

I personally really liked the print titled, “His Caregiver Walking Away From Her Childhood Home.” Nothing seems cleaned up for the shot. The tree branches he included in the shot add to the feeling of age to this home, further highlighted by the grayscale of the photo. The caregiver looks contemplative, with a touch of sadness. It was one that I kept going back to. I tried imagining what was going through her head. And, it could be a myriad of things, even when only put into the context of the rest of the show.

 

“The Sickness,” will be at Sacramento State’s Library Gallery until March 18th, 2017

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