ACEY HARPER is the son of a rodeo cowboy and spent his formative years wandering the Bahama Islands with his grandfather, a raconteur and treasure hunter renowned throughout the Caribbean. His career began as a photojournalist documenting the human condition; he swam in a jungle river with the director Francis Ford Coppola, had tea with Imelda Marcos and has been arrested by the Ton‐Ton Macoutes in Haiti.
Since 2008 he returned to his original love of black and white images by dedicating them to the dramatic bodies of acrobats, aerialists and contortionists. In 2011 Rizzoli Press published this work in the book Private Acts: The Acrobat Sublime. Over the course of a three‐year odyssey across the United States and Canada, he took 70,000 images of acrobats to get the 100 images selected for the book.
“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.”
Acey Harper (official site)