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#4Artistsin4Weeks: Janette Beckman

Kicking off #4Artistsin4Weeks is the incomparable Janette Beckman. Below she discusses the inspiration behind her Instagram series, X3.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to start your Instagram series X3?

The X3 series was inspired by the idea of trying to describe an event in just three photographs. These days with digital media, photographers shoot so many images. Those of us who honed our skills with film were used to editing on the ground, so to speak. The X3 challenge is to edit and describe being there in a sentence or two.

Q: This series covers a vast amount of time periods, regions, and topics, despite the differences, have you noticed a common denominator between all the images?

I think my eye is pretty specific. I am always trying to tell the story, describe the time and place. I am drawn to photographing people but at the same time, I try to give a timeline. For instance, the photograph in the Snake Pit, the T-shirt says it all ‘wasted and don’t give a fuck’, the girl’s checkerboard shorts puts the image firmly at the INDY500 track and the image of the beauty queens, pompoms, marching band, and the signage tell the story that Indiana 2019 is still steeped in American tradition. It’s the clash of the two worlds.

Q: What has been the most exciting thing about translating your photography from physical spaces to the virtual world?

It is wonderful to dig through my archives, to have people see images that I photographed back in the days, often for print editorials that are no longer around. Recently I posted a newly scanned photograph of two punks at Sid Vicious’ memorial march in London 1979 – I got an email from a woman in the UK saying “That’s my dad!’ I sent him a print. That happens a lot.

Q: Besides your series X3 is there anything else you like to see in the 3’s?

I am always coming across images on old contact sheets or hard drives that I have forgotten about. When you shoot a story, usually there are just one or two images that stand out. Often years later your taste has changed and you discover unseen images that really resonate today. I think there is plenty of material for the 3’s.

Q: Your photography has such a major influence on many up-and-coming photographers, are there any that have inspired you lately?

I get a lot of emails from young up-and-coming photographers, especially young women, saying I inspired them to pick up a camera. There are so many good young photographers, I’m a fan of Malcolm Jackson and I just discovered Tsion Haileselassie on Instagram.

Images above from Janette Beckman’s series X3- Indy500.

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