In 2015, portrait photographer Robin de Puy (1986) travelled across America on a motorcycle for her book If This is True… Her 8,000-mile road trip had almost come to an end as she rode her motorbike through Ely, Nevada on 7 July 2015. That night she discovered Randy. He rode past – fast – but in the split second she saw him she knew: she had to find out who this boy was.
About that first encounter she wrote: Randy, a fragile-looking boy, striking face, big ears – a puppy, a golden retriever waiting for the ball to be thrown, (too) naive. ‘Can I photograph you?’ I asked him. The question was met with a shrug and a look both anxious and curious, a look that seemed to say so much and so little, then he wholeheartedly said ‘yes’.
De Puy took his portrait, left town a few days later, and that was it – at least, so it seemed at the time. Back home in Amsterdam, Randy popped into her mind from time to time – it was impossible to meet this boy and leave it at that single image. She visited him 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. ‘Never before have I met someone who gives me so much space to watch, to observe him.’
Robin de Puy is presenting this portrait of Randy from 26 January till 13 May 2018 in the Bonnefantenmuseum in the form of an installation that comprises photos and film.