Mia Beach: The States Project: Indiana
Mia Beach creates atypical portraits as complex as the emotions she represents. She returned to document her subjects (her partners’ past lovers) over multiple visits, incorporating fragmented body parts interacting with the printed image. Stark black-and-white photographs often occupy domestic spaces bathed in natural light. Her series Metamours is built upon layers of trust between current loves and those long past. She approaches the subject with sensitivity and curiosity not the jealousy, unease or insecurity that may arise.
Mia Beach is an MFA student at Indiana University. A native of the Midwest, she has had shows across the country, with her work appearing in print publications in the United States, Europe, and Asia. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her three children. Her current work, Metamours, explores the complex nature of social relationships where romance is involved.
Metamour (noun): A person with whom you have shared a romantic or sexual partner, past or present. The partner of one’s partner.
I set out to honor interpersonal connections, paying homage to the effects we unintentionally have on other people as we move through our lives. People who have impacted our partner’s life affect us. Habits created by a partner, in response to a behavior by another person, act as small echoes of those people who preceded us. Rather than view us as discrete individuals, autonomous and unaffected by the messy web created by human relationships, I see these networks of people, these ripples, as essential to who we are.
As a photographer, can I put myself in a position that is more vulnerable than my subject? Can I create a portrait of someone with whom I have a complicated relationship, and do so while simultaneously acknowledging the competing needs – the need to create an interesting image with the need to create an image that doesn’t disrespect or exploit my subject? I decided to create a series of portraits, all of people who had slept with people I have slept with. I wanted to explore the tenuous and difficult relationship between people who have had a lover in common. Metamours emphasizes the unintentional complication and connection that sex brings to interpersonal relationships.
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