Barbara Peacock is an assignment photographer living in Portland, Maine. She studied fine arts at Boston University School of Fine Arts, and photography and filmmaking at The School for the Museum of Fine Arts / Tufts University. She started as a street photographer and gradually became an assignment lifestyle photographer. Her commercial clients include Arm & Hammer, French’s, Disney, Stride Rite, Brookstone. Editorial clients include People, Newsweek, Real Simple, Family Circle, Oprah, Family Fun. My images have been licensed by Toyota, Coca-Cola, Kodak, Wells Fargo, Tylenol, Volkswagen etc.
She had the privilege to study with Master Photographers Mary Ellen Mark, Eugene Richards and Ernesto Bazan traveling to Cuba, Mexico, Cambodia and Sicily. This work can be seen in her ‘Of Mice and Men’ gallery on her website
In 2016 she published Hometown –1982-2015 – A thirty-year photographic project of the small town where she grew up and continued to live as an adult. Published by BazanPhotos Publishing, Brooklyn NY. Printed in the USA by Puritan Capital. Her current project, American Bedroom- reflections on the nature of life is a cultural and anthropological study of Americans in their private dwelling; their bedrooms. It will encompass the entire United States. It was the recent recipient of the Getty Editorial Grant 2017. She founded a non-profit organization ‘The Nightingale Project’ that teaches art and photography to needy children. She travels with a mix of adults and high school students. Journeys so far have been to Haiti, Cambodia and New York.
About ‘American Bedroom‘:
My plans are to continue my photographic journey and quest for creating a visual and poetic capsule of life in America at this time. American Bedroom is a cultural and anthropological study of Americans in their private and most intimate dwelling – the bedroom. My interest lies in the poetic resonance of ordinary subjects, working class Americans, beneath notice and yet the very fabric of our nation. Although I am photographing America at a time of great divide and insecurity, my subjects are unabashedly open and willing to reveal their character, truth and spirit. Each unguarded moment becomes a thread woven into this intricate, revealing and prodigious American tapestry. The images are paired with pithy quotes from each subject and are full of subtle details that invite us to contemplate the idiosyncrasies of each enigmatic life.
My project will proceed, as it has for the last two years, photographing families, individuals and couples across the country. I plan to photograph in every one of the contiguous United States to show the heterogeneity within our vast and common land. I have covered a good portion of the North East, New York City, and Detroit. I have made three trips to the South and one trip to the West encompassing Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico. I do these trips in the most frugal of manners thus allowing me to extend my travels as far reaching as possible. As an example – I traveled for two weeks in six Southern states for $1200 (gas, food, lodging, car rental). I still have many areas left to travel – Mid Atlantic Region, The Corn Belt, The Plains, The Lakes Region, The Pacific Northwest, Western Gulf Coast, Citrus Belt, and if possible Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
I will continue to find my subjects in the myriad of ways I have been using. Locally I work with people I know and people I meet. When I travel I find my subjects by reaching out beforehand through social media. Generous people offer to be my subjects while others occasionally provide lodging. A well-orchestrated trip will have me arriving with many appointments lined up. Once familiar with the hosts and the area, more introductions are made through friendships, neighbors and acquaintances. Another method I use is to frequent diners in small towns because they provide a tight knit community of helpful locals. I also bring a pre-printed postcard with photos and contact information that I hand out to people I meet; these have proven to have excellent results.
Another key element to the creative work is my rapport with my subjects. I am a friendly person and this seems to open doors. I make certain my subjects understand we are working in collaboration to make their story. I do not push anyone to do anything they are uncomfortable with or is not representative of who they are. Anyone who is nude in my photos is so because they wanted to be. To my delight and awe the majority of people trust me implicitly and let their guard down. Often, we have just met and only have a short while together. I am repeatedly honored, grateful and somewhat flummoxed by the raw honesty and free abandon my subjects bestow upon me. I will continue to give back to my subjects. In lieu of money, which I cannot give, I often buy food or send clothing and shoes to the children. I send photos to my subjects if they want them and I have formed a pen pal relationship with one man who is lonely and has neither phone nor Internet. I have an agreement with all of my subjects to share 10% of the proceeds if I sell a print of them. To date I have sent five checks including one to a homeless man in Detroit that I was finally able to track down.
As American Bedroom continues to grow in size and recognition my plan is to continue working toward procuring a museum show. From the conception of American Bedroom I have wanted the prints to be large (60 x 40), enabling us to look closely at the minutia and labyrinth of each significant life. I will also be publishing a book with approximately 20 to 25 images from each quadrant of the United States. With this project, I illustrate my love and influence of painting. My compositions and lighting are often classical with a nod to Caravaggio, Hopper and Wyeth as well as my enthusiasm for contemporary figurative painting. When I was a child I watched my mother paint by window light and as a result, I am captivated by painting and interior light. I am drawn to the quiet magisterial beauty of people half lost in memory, with too much time on their hands, in poetic reprieve or silent paradox. I argue and persuade that these subjects matter. In the end it is my love for people and storytelling that drives this project, as well as the journey itself.