Angela Rae Berg and I first arrived at the Beekman farm in Sharon Springs, NY in June 2009. She as the fearless Director of the now titled show, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” and me as her Director of Photography. Our mission was to capture footage for a Planet Green television pilot. I had no clue what “Beekman 1802” was all about then. I was there to do a job. Little did I realize that meeting Brent and Josh would infuse my life and that Angela and I would embark on a journey that we are continuing on to this day.
Initially, I was impressed by the grandeur and size of the Beekman farm. But, I soon realized, beauty was not just skin deep here. The place had a soul and its allure lurked in the details – the silent bones at the crypt, the dusk’s dripping dew, Brent’s and Josh’s hardworking boots, down to the cracked wood – and those details embodied the spirit of the farm’s long history that had been shaken awake from its slumber by the arrival of the city slickers, Josh and Brent.
As a city girl myself, I had a lot of fears to overcome. Fear of getting dirty, of smelling bad, of being eaten by a llama and 60 goats, and yes, fear of fresh air! I realized that to truly capture the Beekman farm on camera, I had to get over myself. Thus, Angela and I rolled up our sleeves, put on our own muck boots and got down and dirty in the mud, goat pens, and pig sty. We followed the boys closely; we got rained on when they did, we splashed around in pig manure right alongside them, and we steadied ourselves next to goats’ derrieres for the perfect shots.
Not only did we capture the horizon at hoof level, we also looked above to the sun, skies and the invisible winds, which really lent the Beekman farm its sense of movement. I loved to film the clouds that always moved with fury, and the sprouting flowers and greens that danced in the wind. Coming from LA where the smog is so thick that it belies the sky above, people and nature itself can remain stagnant; and the sun can white out one’s vision and even one’s sense of time. But at the farm, we had the chance to stop, breathe and really see life grow before our eyes.
The best part was that we could translate the beauty we saw in person to the camera. You sometimes hear people say that pictures can’t do beauty justice. Let’s just say that the Beekman farm is an exception, a very photogenic location, location, location that looks just as magical on camera.
Working on this show has been a cinematographer’s paradise. I have more than overcome my initial apprehension and more than anything, I have learned to see and appreciate Beekman’s beauty myself, even beyond the lens of the camera.
Pyongson Yim is the Director of Photography for The Fabulous Beekman Boys. She has also shot for Man Shops Globe and the Emmy-nominated Last Beekeeper. She shot Josh’s author photo for the back cover of The Bucolic Plague and her portrait of Brent and Josh will appear in the September 2010 issue of Vogue.