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Janette Beckman
Janette Beckman

Janette Beckman

Country: United Kingdom
Birth: 1959

Janette Beckman is a British documentary photographer who currently lives in New York City. Beckman describes herself as a documentary photographer. While she produces a lot of work on location (such as the cover of The Police album Zenyatta Mondatta, taken in the middle of a forest in the Netherlands), she is also a studio portrait photographer. Her work has appeared on records for major labels, and in magazines including Esquire, Rolling Stone, Glamour, Italian Vogue, The Times, Newsweek, Jalouse, Mojo and others.

Beckman was at King Alfred School, in Golders Green in north London, from 1953 to 1967. She spent a year at Saint Martin's School of Art, and then three years at London College of Communication studying photography.

After initially working for Sounds magazine with Vivien Goldman – her first shoot was with Siouxsie and the Banshees – she had a job shooting for music magazines such as Melody Maker and The Face, with a studio and darkroom in central London. Her primary focus was the UK's burgeoning punk subculture. Beckman moved permanently to New York City in 1982 and continued her career, shooting for her UK clients as well as new ones in the U.S.

After moving to New York, Beckman presented her portfolio to American record companies looking for work shooting album covers, but the gritty feel of her work did not fit the "airbrushed" aesthetic preferred at the time. She was passed on to smaller rap and hip-hop labels, where she photographed acts such as Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, and the Beastie Boys in their early days. In a 2015 interview with American Photo magazine, she recalled "It is amazing, 30 years later, people going 'oh you photographed legends.' I guess I did, but they weren’t legends when I was taking pictures of them".

Source: Wikipedia


As a child growing up in London in the 1960s, Janette Beckman visited the National Portrait Gallery. Entranced by the portraits of people from distant times and places, she instinctively knew that’s what she wanted to do. “I was always fascinated by people,” she remembers. “I’d see them at the bus stop on the way to school but I was too shy to talk to anybody, so I’d stare at them. My mother would say, ‘Don’t stare,’ but I couldn’t help myself.”

Drawn to the irrepressible expression of style, character, and personality, Beckman forged ahead with her dream of becoming an artist. In the early 1970s, she enrolled at Central St. Martins to study art while living in a semi-squat in Streatham, South London, with her classmates. “We lived on four floors, shared a bathroom, and there was no heat — but my rent was only £5 a week,” she recalls.

Beckman’s foray into photography happened by sheer serendipity. “We would sit around drawing each other endlessly,” she says. “My dear friend Eddie was a fantastic artist; he could draw as well as David Hockney. I would look at his work, then mine, and realize I was never going to be that good. When the end of the school year came, I had to decide what I was going to do, and I thought, I’ll try photography.”

After enrolling in photography school, where she was just one of three women in the class, Janette Beckman quickly realized she didn’t want to learn by instruction — she wanted to do it herself. Determined to chart her own path, Beckman gave herself portrait assignments, and only went into class to learn the things she needed to know, like how to make prints.

“I was in my really rebellious stage,” says Beckman, who followed this guiding light throughout her career. Her love for subversives, innovators, and activists is collected in the new book, Rebels: From Punk to Dior, which brings together four decades of photographs celebrating artists, musicians, and movements on the fringe that have redefined mainstream culture and society.

Beckman’s photographs have played a seminal role in these seismic shifts — one so undeniable that institutions are finally taking note. In a truly full-circle moment, earlier this year, the National Portrait Gallery acquired four Beckman prints of British musicians including the Specials and Laurel Aitken as part of “Inspiring People,” a major curatorial redevelopment project to represent cultural and gender diversity across both sitter and artists.

Source: Blind Magazine

 

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In 1918 he formally converted to the Hungarian Reformed Church (Calvinist); his Godfather was his Roman Catholic university friend, the art critic Ivan Hevesy. Immediately before and during World War I he studied law in Budapest and served in the war, where he sustained a serious injury. In Budapest, on leaves and during convalescence, Moholy-Nagy became involved first with the journal Jelenkor ("The Present Age"), edited by Hevesy, and then with the "Activist" circle around Lajos Kassák's journal Ma ("Today"). After his discharge from the Austro-Hungarian army in October 1918, he attended the private art school of the Hungarian Fauve artist Róbert Berény. He was a supporter of the Communist Dictatorship (known as "Red Terror" and also "Hungarian Soviet Republic"), declared early in 1919, though he assumed no official role in it. After the defeat of the Communist Regime in August, he withdrew to Szeged. An exhibition of his work was held there, before he left for Vienna around November 1919. He left for Berlin early in 1920. In 1923, Moholy-Nagy replaced Johannes Itten as the instructor of the foundation course at the Bauhaus. This effectively marked the end of the school's expressionistic leanings and moved it closer towards its original aims as a school of design and industrial integration. The Bauhaus became known for the versatility of its artists, and Moholy-Nagy was no exception. Throughout his career, he became proficient and innovative in the fields of photography, typography, sculpture, painting, printmaking, and industrial design. One of his main focuses was photography. He coined the term "the New Vision" for his belief that photography could create a whole new way of seeing the outside world that the human eye could not. His theory of art and teaching is summed up in the book The New Vision, from Material to Architecture. He experimented with the photographic process of exposing light sensitive paper with objects overlain on top of it, called photogram. While studying at the Bauhaus, Moholy's teaching in diverse media — including painting, sculpture, photography, photomontage and metal — had a profound influence on a number of his students, including Marianne Brandt. Perhaps his most enduring achievement is the construction of the "Lichtrequisit einer elektrischen Buehne" [Light Prop for an Electric Stage] (completed 1930), a device with moving parts meant to have light projected through it in order to create mobile light reflections and shadows on nearby surfaces. Made with the help of the Hungarian architect Istvan Seboek for the German Werkbund exhibition held in Paris during the summer of 1930, it is often interpreted as a kinetic sculpture. After his death, it was dubbed the "Light-Space Modulator" and was seen as a pioneer achievement of kinetic sculpture. It might more accurately be seen as one of the earliest examples of Light Art. Moholy-Nagy was photography editor of the Dutch avant-garde magazine International Revue i 10 from 1927 to 1929. He resigned from the Bauhaus early in 1928 and worked free-lance as a highly sought-after designer in Berlin. He designed stage sets for successful and controversial operatic and theatrical productions, designed exhibitions and books, created ad campaigns, wrote articles and made films. His studio employed artists and designers such as Istvan Seboek, Gyorgy Kepes and Andor Weininger. After the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, and, as a foreign citizen, he was no longer allowed to work, he operated for a time in Holland (doing mostly commercial work) before moving to London in 1935. In England, Moholy-Nagy formed part of the circle of émigré artists and intellectuals who based themselves in Hampstead. Moholy-Nagy lived for a time in the Isokon building with Walter Gropius for eight months and then settled in Golders Green. Gropius and Moholy-Nagy planned to establish an English version of the Bauhaus but could not secure backing, and then Moholy-Nagy was turned down for a teaching job at the Royal College of Art. Moholy-Nagy made his way in London by taking on various design jobs including Imperial Airways and a shop display for men's underwear. He photographed contemporary architecture for the Architectural Review where the assistant editor was John Betjeman who commissioned Moholy-Nagy to make documentary photographs to illustrate his book An Oxford University Chest. In 1936, he was commissioned by fellow Hungarian film producer Alexander Korda to design special effects for Things to Come. Working at Denham Studios, Moholy-Nagy created kinetic sculptures and abstract light effects, but they were rejected by the film's director. At the invitation of Leslie Martin, he gave a lecture to the architecture school of Hull University. In 1937, at the invitation of Walter Paepcke, the Chairman of the Container Corporation of America, Moholy-Nagy moved to Chicago to become the director of the New Bauhaus. The philosophy of the school was basically unchanged from that of the original, and its headquarters was the Prairie Avenue mansion that architect Richard Morris Hunt designed for department store magnate Marshall Field. Unfortunately, the school lost the financial backing of its supporters after only a single academic year, and it closed in 1938. Moholy-Nagy was also the Art Advisor for the mail-order house of Spiegel in Chicago. Paepcke, however, continued his own support, and in 1939, Moholy-Nagy opened the School of Design. In 1944, this became the Institute of Design. In 1949 the Institute of Design became a part of Illinois Institute of Technology and became the first institution in the United States to offer a PhD in design. Moholy-Nagy authored an account of his efforts to develop the curriculum of the School of Design in his book Vision in Motion. Moholy-Nagy died of leukemia in Chicago in 1946. Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest is named in his honour. Works by him are currently on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The software company Laszlo Systems (developers of the open source programming language OpenLaszlo) was named in part in honor of Moholy-Nagy. In 1998, he received a Tribute Marker from the City of Chicago. In the autumn of 2003, the Moholy-Nagy Foundation, Inc. was established as a source of information about Moholy-Nagy's life and works.Source: Wikipedia
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