BJ (American, b. 1964)

Richeille (British, b. 1975)

A commercial photographer and a stylist, BJ & Richeille Formento met on assignment in 2005 and were married three months later. Circumstance: American Beauty on Bruised Knees is an intensive project the couple started in November 2009, in the midst of the economic recession, as a means of understanding the changing face of the American Dream. Working from an Airstream trailer, Formento & Formento traveled to more than 25 states to photograph women they met online and along the way. What began as a visual story of love lost developed into a cinematic chronicle of hope, fear, passion, beauty, and defeat.

"[B]ack roads led us to ghost towns and forgotten strip malls, to abandoned churches and motels, to rotting steel mills and theatres, prisons, airports, and train stations," says BJ. "We found women in these towns to play our heroines." Formento & Formento have named Edward Hopper, Alfred Hitchcock, Cindy Sherman, and David Lynch as influences. Dramatically lit and styled, their work belongs to the twenty-first century but is grounded in the twentieth.

BJ was born in 1964 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He earned a BFA in Photography from the Academy of Arts University, California, in 1986. After moving to New York City in 1999, BJ assisted Mary Ellen Mark, Richard Avedon, and Annie Leibovitz and studied with Eugene Richards and Arnold Newman. He has been a freelance commercial photographer for over ten years.

Richeille was born in 1975 in London, England. She earned a BA in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 1998 and worked for many years as an art director and designer for major commercial and independent fashion labels.

In 2012, Formento & Formento were nominated top finalist to Vogue’s New Exposure Competition 2012, working with Bottega Venetta and Red Digital Camera. The couple’s first monograph, Circumstance: American Beauty on Bruised Knees, was published in 2012.

 Selected Collections:

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California

Oakland Museum, Oakland, California

American Embassy, Manila, Philippines