The Artist Is The Muse: Jamie Beck-American Photographer
Jamie Beck is a modern day American photographer, artist and muse for La Bella Figura. I came across her work over a year ago, enchanted by her innovation of the Cinemagraph, co-created with her husband, Kevin Berg. A Cinemagraph is part photograph and part moving video, which feels magical and Harry Potter-esque. The stories from Jamie’s imagination are whimsical, playful and often romantic. Drawn to her style and technique I began to follow Jamie on her Instagram account (formerly Anne Street Studio now Jamie Beck.co) and was lured into her storybook images, Provence and her love of flowers. Her work at times, has a Renaissance quality to it. If you look closely her movements in self-portraits depict the subtle flair and feminism of Botticelli. I especially love the posing of her hands and the composition of her photographs. A cross between photo and painting, real life and an ethereal quality.
Over a month ago, Jamie announced on her Instagram account that she would be putting a few of her fine prints online for sale. She explained that one of her shows based in New York had been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, furthermore she had invested heavily in preparation for it. Other lined-up work projects were also being canceled and suddenly she found herself out of jobs. Freelancers and artists have been some of the hardest hit financially from this health crisis. She felt anxious and concerned about what to do. A friend had encouraged her to sell her prints online, but Jamie was hesitant since she only had a few fine prints at her home in Luberon. All of her work stayed in New York and she felt it was too risky to have delivered, also wondering if online selling would take off. Jamie had a plan and I, along with many others happily accepted her online invitation to her Instagram art show.
On the day of her show I was so nervous. Her friends in her town had sent her champagne to celebrate and Jamie, her husband, Kevin and baby girl, Eloise greeted her fans from their home. Jamie began by sharing that one of the prints she had been saving for herself to one day frame and hang in their home. She added that she hoped whoever purchased it would enjoy it and perhaps send her a picture of her work hanging in its new home. You could see the emotional attachment she had to this particular work and as she unveiled a photograph that looked like a painting, she also released a vulnerability that set me in tears. She talked about the work, the quality of the paper, how proud she was to have found sustainable archival quality paper. She showed her other prints. One that made me gasp and I wanted to buy myself titled, The Last Supper. A self-portrait recreation and ode to Leonardo Da Vinci’s most famous work. Then she revealed that her husband had created an online store for her and she was selling work from a series she started on Instagram called #IsolationCreation. These prints were being sold at $50 a piece on beautiful paper to whomever wanted to purchase them.
I cheered because although I dreamed on owning The Last Supper, it was out of my range. Instead I bought two prints that are waiting for me at my studio to frame and hang on my gallery wall. I also cheered as all of her fine art prints were sold online and then I wept. I cried, I think because of how intensely beautiful it was to see a woman, artist, wife and mother place herself in such a vulnerable position, take a risk and take back control from the losses the virus had taken from her. In these moments online, Jamie was so raw and human and along with her family amplified what is happening to many of us. We are stuck trying to navigate between two worlds, the one with all of our history and the lives we loved (or took for granted) and this strange, new one. This new reality, both grim and awakening and clouded with uncertainty. It has forced us to face our mortality and the impermanence of human existence, as well as shed ego and fear and succumb to our humanity. We are all trying to balance a river of emotions or at least, live through it during this time when the world is most fragile. For me, this was more than an art show. It was about a real person living in real time and inviting me to be a part of it. It was an experience of triumph, of spirit, of art and beauty, but most of all it was about the flourishing of a woman when the world tried to uproot her. I will forever be grateful to have been a part of it and delighted to introduce you to Jamie Beck in the only way we know how. Through beauty.
One of the prints I purchased at www.jamiebeck.co. These prints make such a lovely gift and now you can purchase gift cards that include shipping costs from France.