Charlie Beesley’s Discarded America: The Believer's Heaven (1977)
byNWR's featured movie seen through a sequence of found photos.
From a collection of some 55,000 images packed into vintage suitcases and file boxes, of everyday Americans taken by friends family classmates neighbors co-workers strangers, countless faces and countless stories, '...these anonymous people who come and go in the cities and who move on the land; what they look like, now; what is in their faces and in the windows and the streets beside and around them; what they are wearing and what they are riding in, and how they are gesturing...' Charlie points to those words, from an unpublished note Walker Evans wrote for the first publication of American Photographs in 1938, when asked what he looks for in a pile of old photos. 'I like watching pursuits and surroundings change through a century without really changing at all, how immigrants from across the globe became Americans, adopting local beer, cigarettes and slang, growing larger on chicken and biscuits and burgers and fries to fill all the empty space around them. I'll dig through anything - snapshots, photobooths, studio portraits, press photos, publicity stills, prints, negatives, slides - to find something beautiful or true, or better yet a riddle. Why has the woman in the pink coat crawled under the kitchen table with the baby? Why is the car parked in the middle of the river with somebody's mom in the passenger seat reading the Sunday paper?' We are proud to introduce Charlie's photos to the public consciousness and will continue to feature them in upcoming Chapters.
Charlie Beesley is a burrowing nocturnal creature at peace in the Pacific Northwest after years drifting coast to coast avoiding the music, book and movie industries. An obsessive collector from birth, he has concentrated on photographs since the early nineties.