RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies and the staff at RMIT Gallery wish to express our sadness at the passing of Australian photographer Robyn Beeche, and share some of the magical creative activities in which she engaged.
A photographer in the heart of London’s fashion world in the 1980s, Robyn had an eye for the fantastic and a vivid imagination. She pioneered a photographic style that transcended straight fashion photography and introduced scenarios that privileged fantasy, magic and illusion.
She is celebrated for her ground-breaking pre-Photoshop photographs of painted bodies collaborating with legendary make-up artists Richard Sharah, Phyllis Cohen and Richard Sharples. She created many iconic images – from Visage’s Fade to Grey album cover, to the “puritan” image which inspired David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes film clip.
Ms Davies said that RMIT Gallery was so proud to have curated, with Robyn Beeche, the exhibition
Fashion Face: Fashion photography by Robyn Beeche 1979-1989, a survey exhibition of Beeche’s significant works in fashion and fine art photography, from 2 March to 14 April 2007.
In her catalogue essay of the exhibition, Jennifer Phipps acknowledged discussions she had with Robyn Beeche. Phipps writes: “In 1980s’ London, Beeche kept an open studio for innovative artists in fashion and in hair and make-up. Costs were shared and people worked co-operatively. For these portraits, elaborate make-up that could take twelve hours to apply was first drawn up on paper, lighting was calculated meticulously and there was little thought of personal reward in a heated atmosphere of mutual creativity.”
Robyn Beeche moved from Sydney to London in the mid-1970s, and in 1985 based herself in Vrindavan, India documenting the festivals and culture of the region known as Vraj.
Ms Davies remembered Robyn as “a most generous friend with whom we shared our passion for India.”
“In 2012 Robyn was important to an RMIT exhibition and publication, Kindness/Udarta in Delhi, Canberra and Melbourne. Beyond these projects, Robyn enabled so may other initiatives and friendships. Her warmth and caring seemed to know no limits. While our world feels now a lesser place, given her faith and grace Robyn will be in perfect peace.”
Radhe radhe Robyn.