The moments that happen within a courtroom can be deeply private and personal. They may decide custody of a child, the future of an accused person, or the prospects for a start-up company. Yet, these events are considered to be public property, and as we’ve seen in Iowa with same sex marriage, can have profound public impact. By bringing a large format camera into Iowa courtrooms, I hope to provoke discussion about the importance of the courts in our everyday lives.
I’ve only been in a courtroom a few times. The rest I know from TV which I suspect is the same from many people. I remember the intense feeling of walking into the courtroom those few times. It’s a serious place, and you can sense it in the atmosphere. When I saw these photographs from Christopher Beckman I could feel that same intensity, even though the images are quiet, and don’t have people in them. Will these photographs provoke the sort of discussion that he’s aiming for? I doubt it but I think he’s onto something with this series. It might be interesting to see it expanded beyond Iowa to the rest of the country, or even to other countries as I imagine there might be some very interesting and stark contrasts compared to what we see in Iowa.