For months I had to keep quiet, because it was a surprise party and for a surprise party you are supposed to keep your mouth shut. A surprise party, because Randy would graduate from high school – and not to mention – would be the first of the Adams family with a diploma. Yesterday was the day. Randy received his diploma and that’s why we celebrated. We decorated his Pontiac with balloons and turned it into The Randy Mobile. Because not only did he receive his diploma, he also passed his driving test that same day. So after our surprise welcome – which brought about more than just a calm ‘cool’ – we drove around the block together. With his seatbelt fastened – because that’s mandatory – and almost never looking left or right he nearly crashed his new old Pontiac by almost missing a turn in front of his house. We were yelling something like ‘brake, brake, brake’ but that was it. Strangely we flew not too subtly along the edge of a concrete wall and then ended up sort of parked. Randy was silent for a moment, so were we. After the drive we had drinks and ate cake in the park. The cake had to be in the nose and ears of almost everyone, because that was part of it.
In the evening, Randy put on his borrowed graduation suit and headed the procession at his graduation ceremony. Father, mother, grandmothers and many (sort-of-foster) children we had brought with us and we watched Randy parade out of sync, but oh so determined, to his place. Michael (one of the four extra children) was sitting on my lap, his newborn sister was sitting next to us in her yellow lace dress. Lustily he clapped and occasionally he said sweetly, but loudly ‘I am here little sister’ - he almost always talks way too loud. Screaming, not angry, but let’s say enthusiastically, he told me that his father loved dogs and that he was good at drawing superheroes. I would also scream if my father was no longer there.
The day ended with half-liters Dr. Pepper in a motel on the main road. Randy was calm and satisfied. The brothers played football and I talked to Michael about why real stars do not look like drawn stars.
Robin about Randy
On an 8,000 mile road trip across the United States, photographer Robin de Puy met a boy living in the small town of Ely, Nevada who became her photographic muse. Here, de Puy speaks about her absorbing series and the history of her powerful relationship with Randy.
Video interview with Robin de Puy (src: Lensculture).
Portrait Awards 2018
LensCulture / First prize
Director: Robin de Puy
DOP: Maarten van Rossem
Edit: Björn Mentink
Gaffer: Uwe Kuipers
Studio: De Patronage
Ass. mua: Munkhjargal Altantugs
Styling: Lidewij Merckx
Assistent styling: Mark Stadman
Production on set: Mirthe van Merwijk, Paulien Koper
Assistent: Berend van Breda
Thanks: Berber Sluiter, Chuck Heerenveen, Dave van der Veen, Dirk Janssen, Dolf Middelhoff, Gerda Link, Marlies Tjarks, Noortje Laan, Revé Terborg, Nico Berendse en George Arkestein
The New Yorker
A Joyous, Mysterious Portrait of Rural American Boyhood
“De Puy’s most mesmerizing depiction of her subject, though, is not a still but one of the short films that accompany “Randy” in installation. In this video, the boy is visible from the waist up, his gaunt form jouncing through Nevada’s stark, vacant landscape. It takes the viewer a moment to realize that Randy is riding a bike, which remains invisible beneath the camera’s frame. Plain and bracing, the clip conjures the simplest pleasures of childhood adventure—the great weight of a midday sun on open roads, the satisfying rasp of a bicycle chain before curfew. A glare grazes the twin ladders of Randy’s ribs. Wind whiffles his cowlicks. The boy glides forth, his mouth wild, toward a destination that no one else can see.”
Photography: Robin de Puy
Video’s: Robin de Puy & Maarten van Rossem
Full article: The New Yorker - Photo Booth
Opening: Thursday 25 January 2018, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
In 2015 portrait photographer Robin de Puy (1986) travels across America on a motorcycle. During this trip, an intimate portrait emerges in text and image of both herself as of the persons portrayed. In Ely, Nevada she found Randy. He rode past – fast – but in the split second she saw him she knew: De Puy had to know who this boy was. She took his portrait, left the town a few days later, and that was it – at least, that’s what it seemed at the time. Back in Amsterdam Randy popped into her mind from time to time - it was impossible to know this boy and leave it at that single image. She looked him up again at the end of 2016, and then again in February 2017, and once more in May 2017. She turns him inside out, looks at him, stares at him and he lets her.
In the Bonnefantenmuseum, Robin de Puy is presenting this portrait of Randy in the form of an installation that comprises photos and film.