GoHardBoys – Harlem © Janette Beckman
IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME
IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
Janette Beckman is a British-born photographer who lives and works in New York. She began her career at the dawn of punk rock, shooting bands from The Clash to Boy George. Moving to NYC in 1983 she was drawn to the underground hip-hop scene and photographed pioneers such as Run DMC, Slick Rick, Salt’n’Pepa, Grand Master Flash and LL Cool J. Beckman continues to chronicle sub-cultures of our generation as well as working on shoots for clients such as Levis, Dior and Apple.
What is your present state of mind? Take it day by day.
Fight the Power or Power the fight? Fight the Power – we have a lot of issues with our current man in power here in US.
If not yourself, who would you be? Mavis Staples.
What is time? Time passes now in COVID digging in the archive for memories of times past.
Do you have faith? I am an optimist – yes I have faith in humanity.
Where are you now? New York City.
Your sliding doors? I ride my bike around the quiet streets.
Your butterfly effect? Everything has changed in a matter of 10 weeks, we have to go with the flow and see where it leads us.
How is culture “infected”? Museums galleries concerts, clubs, bars all closed – now it is all about online. I am doing IGLive interviews, a virtual studio tour for the ICP, online interviews. just need to find a way to pay the bills as an artist.
What art do you have in your living room? My living room walls are covered in art from my friends, Cey Adams, Morning Breath, Faust, Jane Dickson, Jamel Shabazz, Martha Cooper and more.
Your favorite heroine? Rebels, women who walk their own walk, artists, designers, musicians, politicians whoever.
3 books that changed your life? The Fire Next Time by Steve Schapiro & James Baldwin, photo books by August Sander, Jamel Shabazz, Avedon, Pen Danny Lyon, Bruce Davidson.
What would you like to toast to? Frontline workers, delivery workers, hospital workers, firemen, cops, homeless outreach, God’sLoveWeDeliver, everyone who is out there helping in the pandemic.
Your greatest accomplishment? Managing to make a living as an artist doing the thing I love, taking photographs.
In which restaurant would you want to eat your last supper and what would you order? Lucien: Steak au Poivre with a glass of wine.
Looking at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? Someone who has managed to live a great life following her passion for art and photography.
Your biggest regret? I didn’t get to photograph Tupac, Prince, Aretha Franklin and James Brown.
Your ideal view? People back on the streets, unmasked.
Who is your favorite artist that nobody has heard of? Ian Wright on Instagram @misterianw. We’ve been friends since the punk days – he’s brilliant.
Which artist should everyone know before the age of 18? Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat.
You are organizing a dinner party, which 3 people would you invite (dead or alive)? Little Richard and Sebastiao Salgado.
Which books are on your nightstand? Kathy Valentine biography (Bass player for the GoGo’s) and Tina Turner biography.
Yin or Yang? Both.
Your favorite Exhibition? “David Bowie is” at Brooklyn Museum.
Your favorite Museum? The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.
Your favorite Curator? pass ..
Who is winning: the streets or the institutions? Streets right now.
Who do you dislike? President Trump.
Your myths? As Bob Marley said ” Everything Gonna Be Alright”… Try to think positive.
One film that changed your life? Dogtown and Z-Boys by Stacy Peralta changed my life and brought me back to photographing rebel cultures that I love.
Your idea of misery? Losing people close to me.
Your disguise? Wearing a mask during COVID.
Your idea of mystery? I watch a lot of detective thrillers…
Your favorite hero? President Obama.
The theme song to your life? The Mowtown catalog.
Your enemy? Negativity.
Your favorite drink? Tea (I am British).
If you could choose, how would you like to die? Peacefully.
Your motto? Follow your passion in life.