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Janette Beckman discusses her long career and how she brought her backstage aesthetic to the world of Dior

Welcome to this third episode of the new Dior Talks series ‘The Female Gaze’. With the term developed in response to the writings of feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey, this podcast series will explore how the work of the female photographers and creatives collaborating with Dior offers a radically new and progressive image of women. 

In this episode, series host Charlotte Jansen, a British journalist and author, speaks with Janette Beckman, the London-born, New York-based documentary photographer who shot the autumn-winter 2019 campaign. Beckman’s remarkable career spans more than four decades, during which time she has photographed the rock and punk legends of the UK and USA, the emerging hip-hop generation in the early ’80s and numerous iconic album covers.

Janette Beckman was raised in North London and attended St. Martins School of Art before studying photography at the London College of Communication. She was already working for legendary music magazines Sounds, Melody Maker and The Face in the late ’70s and early ’80s and her first assignment was for the group Siouxsie and the Banshees. On moving to New York in 1982, her gritty aesthetic ruffled feathers in the context of the air-brushed style of most album covers of the time. Her response was to focus on the new and revolutionary hip-hop scene, photographing Public Enemy, The Beastie Boys and LL Cool J amongst many others.

In this week’s episode, Beckman discusses her experiences of being a young woman and a foreigner in the New York music and photography scenes at a seminal yet very different time. She ruminates on the notion of the outsider and issues of appropriation, and how her origins in London’s punk culture contributed to the curiosity that spurred her entrée into the rap scene rising in New York’s outer boroughs. She also discusses her own ‘female gaze’ and how she captured, with her direct and irreverent eye, the intimate and typically unseen moments in the creation of the spring-summer 2017 collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s debut at the House.  

Discover a selection of works: 

The Women Behind the Lens x Janette Beckman

Janette Beckman, Dior Backstage, Spring-Summer 2017

Janette Beckman, Dior Fall-Winter 2019

Janette Beckman, Mods Streatham, 1976

Janette Beckman, LL Cool J, 1985

Janette Beckman, Salt ‘N Pepa, 1987

Martha Cooper

‘Girl On Girl’, Charlotte Jansen