Photographers BJ and Richeille Formento met exactly a decade ago, while working on a common assignment, and have been partners in both life and work ever since. Together they travel around the world, creating highly inspirational visual series that treat the human persona as prime matter that can be re-shaped through the most unconventional of scenarios. These are usually set in a surreal environment that is saturated in an abundance of contrasting references involving everything from culture and sex to high-fashion and technology.
In contrast to their work, the reason that pushed the photography duo in the direction they followed was anything but surreal. It all started with the recession in 2008 and the subsequent collapse of the American Dream. Simply getting by in New York wasn’t enough for the Formentos and soon life found them travelling across the US in a 27-foot Airstream, in an attempt to capture this newly-found reality through photographing women they would meet along the way. The result of this five-month trip was Circumstance: America Down on Bruised Knees, the duo’s first conceptual series and big breakthrough.
The profound success of Circumstance gave birth to a coffee table book as well as several other projects including a collection of hyper-sexualised editorials under the title She Is Cuba, a pseudo-documentary style series showcasing an intimate look into Japanese tradition entitled The Japan Diaries, and finally, Strange Fascination, the couple’s most recent work and perhaps the darkest in nature, dealing with concepts associated with misfortune, tragedy and survival.
With all that and so much more in the pipeline, it’s only a matter of time before Formento + Formento find their own little place amongst the pantheon of American visual artists such as the likes of David Lynch and Arthur Elgort. The ‘When’, we cannot know, but their restless spirit, cinematic sensibilities and unique aesthetic definitely answer the ‘How’.