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Beckham Firmament: A Meditation on Place in Three Parts
by Andrew Beckham
with an introduction by Blake L. Milteer

The transient nature of our place in the world has long been an abiding artistic concern of Andrew Beckham. Whether he stands firmly on the ground or star-gazes into the heavens, Beckham, through the frame of his camera, tries to answer questions that have accompanied human life over the millennia: How do we know where and when we fit in the scheme of Life? How do we find a meaningful place for ourselves within Nature? Is one place more or less important than another for contemplating the eternal questions of "Who am I?" and "What am I doing here?"

In constructing "visual poems" that include single images as well as visual montages of sequenced photographs, Beckham tries to reconcile these questions by focusing on the synchronicity between the mundane and the infinite. By presenting these images as a new kind of "visual storytelling," Beckham juxtaposes the varying scales of photographic inquiry, from the private spaces near our homes to the expanding and unknowable universe.

Firmament is a meditation on place unlike any other. In Portfolio I, Beckham discovers a unique stretch of land, one square-mile in Bear Creek Canyon near his home, where a curious sense of visual order is achieved amongst the chaos of impenetrable bramble and thick woods. For the artist, this is ground incarnate. In Portfolio II, Beckham explores a landscape so wide and vast that space can hardly be contained within the frame of his camera. Here, in the 20,000 square miles known as the Sand Hills, Beckham discovers a place where land and sky meet and often merge within a virtual sea of rolling prairie grassland. In Portfolio III, Beckham turns to the "incalculable distance" between the heavens and Earth, between grounded experience and infinite space. Here, Beckham's artistry is revealed in a visual assemblage of his own photographic work merged with the cosmologies of centuries-old star charts.

In viewing Andrew Beckham's work, we see depth and beauty, serenity and enlightenment, and we gain a certain reassurance that there is something greater than ourselves when we contemplate the universe with a sense of reverence and even awe. We also come to realize that we have a sacred duty to understand and respect our individual place within the world, so that we may take better care of that which we have come to know, no matter how small or large the scale.

"Andrew Beckham is a lot of things, but I consider him a 'visual poet,' using language both written and visual to construct nuanced work that is compelling, fragile, and poignant. He is the Joseph Cornell of the photo world, combining photographic memory with objects imbued with ideas and meaning."
—Aline Smithson, Lenscratch

"Andrew Beckham delivers us to the realm of the marvelous."
—Barry Lopez

"Andrew Beckham continues a vital reconnaissance, searching for places where the truth seems secure and, like life itself, is resonant with an inexplicable poignancy. He also confronts a kind of paradoxical truth: that great beauty can dwell in the darkness and in the apparent chaos of emerging forms. Recalling the words of Robert Adams, in the redemptive nature of light, Beckham finds grace and the rekindling of an affection for living."
—Terry Toedtemeier, Curator of Photography, Portland Art Museum, 1985–2008

Finalist for the 2014 Colorado Book Award in the Pictorial category.

Book nominated for a 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award.

Firmament: A Meditation on Place in Three Parts is a 112-page compendium showcasing the black-and-white photography of Andrew Beckham. This coffee table art book offers an impressive series of images that lead to contemplation and imaginative interpretation as the reader browses each 'picture portrait' photograph of nature's forms from the small and complex to the sweeping and expansive. Firmament: A Meditation on Place in Three Parts documents Andrew Beckham as a photographer with an artist's eye for form. Highly recommended, especially for students of the photographic arts, Firmament: A Meditation on Place in Three Parts would make an especially welcome and impressive community library Memorial Fund acquisition.
—James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review

"Three linked portfolios make up this book of black-and-white art photographs. The first is landscape images of wooded thickets from one square mile of Bear Creek Canyon. The second is landscape images of twenty thousand square miles of open prairie in the Sandhills of western Nebraska. The third is digital composites linking very large and very small scales through formal concern with circular arcs; the large images are from historical celestial maps, and the small ones are mostly grass, twigs, flowers, and seeds. Some of the images were made with film, and others with digital cameras. In both cases the artist prints his own work with tight attention to the print process, so that images which might be pedestrian with less careful exposure and printing become detailed in high contrast and connected in the overall series of juxtapositions which forms the book."
—Eithne O'Leyne, Editor, Reference & Research Books News of Book News, Inc.

$50.00 U.S. (trade discount)
ISBN: 978–1–938086–13–7

$75.00 U.S. (short discount)
(A signed and numbered edition of 100)
ISBN: 978–938086–15–1

110 pages
12.0" x 10.0"
48 duotone photographs, including three foldouts

Published in October 2013

Distributed by the International Publishers Marketing cart

Andrew Beckham Photography

About the Author and the Essayist

Book Events and Exhibitions:
January 10–February 22, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, January 10th, 5–8pm
Goodwin Fine Art, Denver, CO
Andrew Beckham: Firmament

Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 2pm
Book signing and conversation
Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Steamboat Springs, CO

Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 2pm
Author talk and book signing
Tattered Cover Bookstore, Historic LoDo location, Denver, CO

Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 2pm
Artist's talk and book signing, with Andrew Beckham and Chief Curator, Blake Milteer
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO

August 24–December 1, 2013
Andrew Beckham: Firmament
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO

March 1–April 12, 2013
Opening Reception: Friday, March 1st, 6–9pm
Walker Fine Art, Denver, CO
National Month of Photography in conjunction with Month of Photography Denver

BeckhamDAMAndrew Beckham with Barb Hirokawa Gal, Past President of the Colorado Art Educator's Association and a founding member of ArtSource Colorado. (Photo credit: Mckenzie Chandler)

Slide Show:
Firmament: A Meditation on Place in Three Parts

Book Information Sheet (pdf)


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