Alexia Beckerling: Helmville
July 8 2009 - October 4 2009
Photojournalist Alexia Beckerling spent a great deal of time in recent years in Helmville, Montana, developing this body of work. Beckerling states, "There are signs of change. But the Helmville community remains faithful to its traditions and has resisted the disintegration of rural life endemic in other Montana counties. Proud Irish matriarchs bake and gossip and look through large ranch windows. Ranchers tend to cattle. The children go to school." On a certain level, Helmville reflects "every small town Montana" known for its anonymity, protective of its relative isolation, and proud of its self-sufficiency.
MAM is pleased to feature this body of work that seems to have captured the essence of a community. Helmville is a small town of approximately 240 people in the Blackfoot Valley, east of Missoula. As we see, Beckerling has used photography to capture the realism of place and also it's quintessential beauty. In Beckerling's approach, we see the roots of both the community's history and its dogged determination to preserve its own way of life. While Beckerling's project itself is rooted in creative expression it also serves as a form of respectful preservation.