The Iconic Janette Beckman at The Pilgrm
Janette Beckman’s first ever solo London exhibition is on display now at The Pilgrm, with all pieces being available to purchase. The iconic photographer and friend of The Pilgrm made her name photographing bands and capturing heroes of youth subcultures, including legendary figures from the Punk and Hip-Hop movements such as Joe Strummer, Boy George, Sade, Slick Rick, Salt-n-Pepa and NWA.
Her work has appeared in Interview, The Guardian, The Face and Huck magazines to name a few, with a portfolio that features international campaigns for Levis, Dior, Shinola and Kangol.
We recently caught up with Janette ahead of the exhibition:
What was your route into photography? I knew I wanted to be an artist since I was a kid, I was always drawing, going to museums like the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A. I wanted to be a portrait painter (like David Hockney who was en vogue at the time) but I didn’t think I was good enough so I transitioned into photography.
Did you study within the arts? I was at Central St Martins for a year then decided I wanted to do photography and studied at the London College of Communication
What has been the most exciting or proudest moment of your career? Photographing campaigns for LEVI’S and DIOR. And having my photographs in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian.
If you had one piece of advice for young photographers just starting out, what would it be? Follow your passion, even if critics try to dissuade you.
Where do you draw your inspiration from - what makes you get up and go? I live in New York City, there is always something happening on the streets to photograph.
What is your favourite piece of work you have produced and why? Run DMC & posse in Hollis Queens 1984 is a captured moment in time. They are on the block where they lived, their style and attitude seemed to capture that moment in Hip-Hop. There were no art directors, assistants, stylists, hair & makeup, just me and the band on the street. The photo (commissioned by Neville Brody) ran in ‘The Face over a double page.
Why are you showing your work at The Pilgrm? The show is curated by Stephen Rothholz who I met in the 1970’s. I’ve stayed at the Pilgrm many times. It’s a great meeting spot, love the breakfast and cocktails and looking forward to sharing my photos with the folk passing through.
What will guests be able to see when they visit your show at The Pilgrm? The photographs represent some of my 40 years of photographing bands from the Punk and Hip-Hop cultures, legends from Joe Strummer, Boy George and Sade to Slick Rick, Salt-n-Pepa and NWA. Plus four silk screen prints made with Gary Lichtenstein Editions from the 'Legends of Hiphop' series.
Janette’s work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Museum of the City of New York and the British National Portrait Gallery.
After being introduced to The Pilgrm some years ago by a mutual friend and becoming a regular guest, we are thrilled to now be able to showcase over 40 pieces of her work throughout our public spaces, which are also available to buy directly through Janette. A very limited number of signed copies of her book ‘Rebels: From Punk to Dior’ are also available to buy at The Pilgrm.
Visit us at 25 London Street, London W2 1HH.
Portrait of Janette: © Gudrun Georges
All other images: © Janette Beckman