Please pardon the quality, and excuse the unceasing thunderstorm!
Janette Beckman’s photos of punk and hip-hop groups from the eighties created iconic images and chronicled both a style and a movement. Her subjects look right at us, showing us exactly who they are. There was no stylist or publicist or minion setting up the shot. The subjects had their own style and their own statement to make and Janette was there to capture it.
Janette is a documentary portraitist. She interprets the emotions and style of her subjects and puts them right out there for our viewing pleasure. She captures attitude – that’s what makes her work from the 80s so strong, so unique. And that’s why companies hire her today to try and recreate that feeling.
From The Clash to The Specials to LL Cool J to Run DMC to Salt n Pepa, Janette Beckman gave us their world. Gone are the days when musicians give total and complete access to their gigs, their lives and their world. Now everything is pre-ordained and carefully created. Back then, you were as much a player as they were. Being a band or a fan made you part of the whole.
Janette’s work is a reflection of who she is as well: a direct, funny, amazingly cool and determined woman. She approaches her subject with complete candor and allows them to be themselves. She is charming and disarming and most of all, interested in people.
I got to see that first hand when we went to Occupy Wall Street last week. Janette ran around taking pictures and talking to people with a real joy. She is engaged and engaging. No one turned her down. And it is that exact combination of factors that made it possible for Janette to photograph some of the biggest groups of that time and create iconic images that last. – Stella Kramer
Be sure to check out Janette’s blog: Archive of Attitude