“I didn’t want to tell the tree or weed what it was. I wanted it to tell me something and through me express it’s meaning…”
Douglas Beasley’s personal vision explores the spiritual aspects of people and place and is concerned with how the sacred is recognized and expressed in everyday life. He hopes that his photographs act as prayer-like offerings, as a departure point for the viewer’s own visual or spiritual journey.
After receiving a BFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he also studied Eastern Religions and Native American culture, he worked for several prominent commercial photo studios as a photo assistant and darkroom slave. Both helped him develop a appreciation for attention to detail, lighting and technical proficiency but left him longing for artistic self-expression. He then opened his own studio in Minneapolis, MN emphasizing commercial and editorial fashion. As a strong feminist, he considers himself the world’s most unlikely fashion photographer but greatly enjoyed the creativity and spontaneity of fashion photography. This evolved into shooting extensively throughout the country and internationally for various advertising, educational, public service and non-profit clients. Doug currently works on fine-art based commercial projects around the world.
Much of his personal work is supported by grants and commissions and is widely exhibited and collected. In 2010 he had a permanent installation at the Castillo D’Albertis Cultural Museum on Sacred Places of North America. He has been published internationally and featured in numerous photo magazines such as Zoom, The Sun, B&W, PDN, Shots and PhotoVision. His first book Japan; A Nisei’s First Encounter, offers insight into his journey to his mother’s Japanese homeland. His most recent book Earth Meets Spirit was published by 5 Continents Editions of Milan, Italy and is distributed by Abrams.
As founder and director of Vision Quest Photo Workshops, Beasley provides workshops that emphasize personal expression and creative vision over the mechanics of camera use. He believes in helping each student find their own voice rather than making anonymous ‘pretty pictures’. His workshops are held at art and cultural centers across the US and in Ireland, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, Italy, Norway, Japan, and China as well as the Trade River Retreat Center, his cabin/retreat center in Northwest Wisconsin.
Doug continues to explore the notion of what is sacred in his photography and in his own life. He lives in a small passive solar home surrounded by trees in Saint Paul, MN and when not out traveling the world he can be found tending his Japanese gardens or enjoying a strong cup of coffee while listening to loud music. Personal heroes include Jimi Hendrix, the Dalai Lama and whoever invented the espresso machine.
“Douglas Beasley travels as a seeker, not a tourist. He makes photographs not as a reaction to the otherness of people, places and cultures, but because of a feeling that exists deep within himself. HIs destinations in the world are connected by his photographs which give visible form to invisible maps of the eternal. They are miraculous imaginings of beauty, suffering and longing of the human body, mind and soul.”
– Franco Salmoiraghi, Photographer/Educator, Honolulu, HI
Testimonials from clients:
“Your work is simply stunning! We are in awe of your talent and vision and the ways that you interpret the world. Besides being downright beautiful, your work really touches our souls. So, thank you.”
– Lisa and Adam Mauer Elliot, Outside the Box Designs
“Your photos were a show stopper on my house tour. They are magnificent.”
– Ann Ledy, President, College of Visual Arts, Saint Paul, MN
“We are honored to have had you as a judge. I feel strongly that this exhibition is the best we have had to date due to a record number of entries as well as quality judging. You did a wonderful job.”
– Robert Meyer, Superintendent of Fine Arts Department, MN State Fair
“The photos arrived and were very well loved. Thanks for the great service!”
– Paul Pelletier, Vancouver BC, Canada
“Your images are a strong presence in the museum…and we are very pleased.”
– Maria Camilla DePalma, Director, Castile de Albertis Cultural Museum, Genoa, Italy
After an image presentation/talk for Milwaukee photo group, from man with Alzheimer’s Disease: “That was the worst movie I’ve ever seen!”
– Jim Waterhouse
Testimonials from students:
“I took some of the best photographs of my life and discovered things inside of me that I didn’t know were there. I feel like you can easily, honestly and gently point out many of the emotional blocks keeping me from making photographs. I don’t want to make excuses and I want to create work that is true to myself, and I feel like you’re a great catalyst.”
– Sarah Rust-Sampedro, Minneapolis, MN
“I have taken many classes from Doug and he has inspired me in all aspects of being a photographic artist. His gentle nature makes him very approachable and is willing to give advice even when the workshop is over. I would encourage any one interested even a little bit to take one of his workshops. I promise it’ll open up you mind, eyes, and soul.”
– Heather Matson, Saint Paul, MN
“Doug is kind, supportive, insightful, nurturing, sensitive and brilliantly attuned both technically and spiritually to the art, the eyes and the heart. There is a reason for the name Vision Quest.”
– Layla Smart, New York, NY
“You really walked everyone through your creative process which I found, as a new devotee to photography, enlightening! Thanks for a wonderful/thoughtful/honest presentation. I was truly inspired!”
– Sandra Weber, WI
“In addition to being truly moved, I feel like I learn a new lesson every time I see your work. Several stood out for me last night:
– how you know your technique, cameras etc really well – inside and out – so that you can creatively tweak how you use them to express yourself.
– how emotionally honest you are.
– how true to your own path you are.
All rare qualities. Ones that inspire me to grow my own work. And self.”
– Rebecca Pavlenko, Saint Paul, MN
“Thank you for holding a space for the sacred.”
–Erica Staab, Minneapolis, MN