Mercer, Ralph

Trained as an artist, BFA RISD, MFA Umass Dartmouth, Ralph Mercer has practiced photography as a commercial photo-illustrator throughout his career. Recently, his work has concentrated on fine art photography.

Bill Brandt and Harry Callahan are his photographic heroes. Both men picked up a camera loaded with black and white film and investigated their environments and personal worlds with a brilliant sense of experimentation and design. Emulating their dedication and artistic imperatives, Mercer pursues the sensual and the abstract through camera manipulation and digital composite techniques.

The primary subject of the work is the human body. It juxtaposes the human figure with imagery captured in nature or created in the studio. Looking beyond the body’s visible exterior, his photography is both literal and symbolic striving for evocative formal elegance. Mercer explores the female body and its implied connections to the natural world and evolutionary imperatives. It is a metaphysical meditation that ponders the powerful, creative, and archetypal character of womanhood.