Currently exhibiting at la BANK in Paris is a solo exhibition, entitled NO CASH/CASH, featuring two series of work by Juliana Beasley. Beasley, a former assistant of Annie Leibovitz, has become a notable photographer in her own right. The two series being shown at la BANK, Rockaway Park and Lapdancer, are seemingly polarities in terms of subject matter, but both cut to the heartbeat of what it is to be human and struggle, regardless of how that struggle manifests itself.
In Rockaway Park, the Jersey City photographer documents the faces of that fringe of the Queens population in a Leibovitz-esque style of portraiture, although capturing far less glamorous faces than those of the Hollywood stars shot by Leibovitz. These faces are not those gracing the covers of US Weekly, but those marginalized by a class seen above their own in both economic stature as well as broader social terms–predominantly found on the other end of the A train. One striking image, Last Stop Diner, seems to be made up of one part joy to two parts sorrow. The ubiquitous site of that scarf-covered white hair and red lipstick, maybe a little on the teeth, lives in the subconscious of others in the neighborhood, or in the bittersweet nostalgia of those who have since left the various Rockaway Parks of the world.
Lapdancer is taken from the 2003 book of the eponymous name. The series graphically captures the seediness of an establishment that lives within a time capsule of the late night hours, no matter how light it is outside. It documents the experience of the dancers and the anxious clientele in the coarsest and most honest of terms, omitting most traces of pleasure and leaving one grimacing at the sight of these scenes. NO CASH/CASH is on display until November 8th.
Juliana Beasley lives and works in Jersey City. A 1990 graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, her work is represented by Contact Press Images. Beasley is the recipient of numerous industry nominations and awards.