Jeff Beardsley

“Photography is more than a passing hobby; it’s now an obsession.”

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Photography is more than a passing hobby; it’s now an obsession. In the forty-seven years I’ve been making, studying, and collecting photographs, I’ve developed a keen understanding of the medium and the expressive potential it holds. Like many, I started out photographing family, friends, and travel, later exploring landscape and sports photography. After a snow ski racing accident in 1984, still life, small scapes and street photography became more prevalent in my work as the challenge of hand-held photography from a wheelchair became apparent. I take my inspiration from the West Coast school of photography (Brett Weston in particular), Eliot Porter for color, and MAGNUM photographer Elliott Erwitt. The name of my company, Beardsley Prints, I borrowed from a line in Rod Stewart’s 1977 hit “You’re in My Heart,” which references the 19th-century English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. Stewart describes some of his lover’s odd habits with the line, “Your fashion sense, Beardsley Prints I put down to experience.”My current series, Botanica, began in 2011, when I trained my lens on a single backlit cactus flower at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. The image reminded me of Phoenix-based artist Ed Mell’s flower paintings. Since then I have been creating flower and botanical images that are at once classical and distinctly contemporary, giving nods to the likes of Mell, Georgia O’Keefe, and the photographers Imogen Cunningham and Robert Mapplethorpe (among other things, the controversial Mapplethorpe was a superb portrait and flower photographer).I approach photography with a deft eye and a drive to create images that are relevant and cause one to pause when viewing them. Hopefully, viewers will find something out of the ordinary in my photographs. If so, then I’ve created work with a little bit of soul and some staying power.