Londoner Janette Beckman began her career at the dawn of punk rock working for The Face and Melody Maker. She shot bands from The Clash to Boy George as well as 3 Police album covers.
Moving to New York in 1982, she was drawn to the underground Hip Hop scene. Her photographs of pioneers such as Run DMC, Slick Rick, Salt’n’Pepa, Grandmaster Flash, Big Daddy Kane are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Museum and the Museum of the City of New York.
Beckman describes herself as a documentary photographer. While she produces a lot of work on location (such as the cover of The Police album Zenyatta Mondatta, taken in the middle of a forest in the Netherlands), she is also a studio portrait photographer.
Her work has appeared on records for the major labels, and in magazines including Esquire, Rolling Stone, Glamour, Italian Vogue, The Times, Newsweek, Jalouse, Mojo and others.
In a 2015 interview with American Photo magazine, she recalled: “It is amazing, 30 years later, people going ‘oh you photographed legends.’ I guess I did, but they weren’t legends when I was taking pictures of them.”
(Photos by Janette Beckman)