"A one-time photo editor at USA Today, Harper has traveled the world shooting for Time, National Geographic and other magazines, as well as taking pictures and serving as director of photography for A Day in the Life of Israel, A Day in the Life of the United States Armed Forces... But he's proudest of the photographs in Private Acts. He culled them from the 70,000 he shot on the beaches and bunkers of the Marin Headlands, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Black Rock Desert...

For 3 years, the veteran photojournalist has embraced a new way of working. Rather than taking pictures that tell real-life stories, he's been inventing images, shaping them in collaboration with the contortionists, acrobats and aerialists who inspire him.

He shoots these athletic artists in unexpected places, without makeup, costumes or artificial lighting: dangling from trees, rafters, industrial cranes and old train trestles, handstanding in subway stations and on cracked desert floors, floating in the woods, flying over water, hanging from the sides of the buildings.

A hundred of these marvelous pictures appear in Private Acts: The Acrobat Sublime"...

"There was a sense of collaboration and adventure to all the photographs [in Private Acts]. I am often asked how I received permission to photograph in some locations. I did not. We would sometimes rush in and the acrobat would climb up a wall or contort on a bridge as I quickly made my photograph and then we left, sometimes with security guards in pursuit. In fact, I would describe much of this project as a performance art captured on camera. The artists did these poses or quick acts one tim in the one place never to be replicated again. I made the image that was the complete summation of their short performance. Those images are my project." Complete interview at http://www.photography-magazine.net/interviews/acey-harper-body-all-its-forms
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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