Take one look at Jamie Beck’s Instagram and prepare to be beamed to a golden era, filled with an eclectic offering of divine beauty, grace and compositions that even Botticelli would envy. A former New Yorker, Jamie Beck now resides in the breath-taking region of Provence with her collaborator-come-husband Kevin Burg and one-year old daughter Eloise. Beck’s work is enchanting, developing her own form of renaissance by infusing the raw reality that is life with romanticised depictions akin to oil paintings. We caught up with the ‘belle of Provence’ as she embarks on the journey of motherhood to discuss her work and how she creates harmony within her professional and family life.
Are there any standout moments that you remember as being a key turning point that directed you to your chosen career path?
I can still remember the moment as a child looking through the camera viewfinder and seeing the world completely new. It was at that moment photography captivated my imagination and I knew right away what I wanted to dedicate my life to.
What is your favourite medium to work with?
This is constantly changing as I move through different eras of my work. I use cameras as tools the way a painter uses a brush, you chose it because it helps you in achieving what you set out to create. With that said, choosing a favourite camera or process is like choosing a favourite child, it’s impossible.
How did you meet your husband and when did you begin to work together?
We met in New York, I overheard him talking about art in Florence and we instantly became friends. We were friends for many years, we were so young when we met, but always talking about art and eventually collaborating. We officially started working together and opened our creative studio, Ann Street Studio, in 2012.
Talk us through Cinemagraphs…
What if a moment could last forever? Cinemagraphs are never-ending living photographs. We had this idea of creating living photographs for some time as the world moved on from print to digital we felt storytelling could also be advanced to give the reader more information without requesting them to watch an entire video. The first Cinemagraph we created in 2011 took us four days to work! Even from back then to now, every time we create a cinemagraph it feels like magic, as if we give weightlessness to time.
What currently inspires you when creating content?
I find all my inspiration currently is coming from the seasons and nature. I love to wake up each day and look outside at what has changed. The light, the air, the sky, what is blooming, and how that affects our daily lives.
How has your schedule changed since the birth of Eloise and what advice would you give to self-employed parents with a baby at home?
It’s a very tough balance I am still trying to figure out. I love my work and I love to create work, so the hardest adjustment has been to be on a baby schedule. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a groove when it’s time for Eloise everything must stop. I’m learning to compartmentalise work time and family time. She’s so young, I want to give her my full attention when she’s at home and not try to squeeze in work and her time. We will never get this time back, so I just have to be patient with my work. What I have found to be helpful is taking 20 mins every morning to pick up the house which helps keep stress at bay. After Eloise goes to creche I force myself to take 30mins every morning to do Yoga to feel good in my body, to be present, and to do something healthy for myself even though it’s so hard to not want to jump straight into work. The rest is just learning how to reprioritize what work is most important for you to focus on because you just can’t do as much as you used to.
How have you found the adjustment to life in Provence, what do you miss most about New York?
t was my dream to live in France, but I had no idea how much I would truly love life here. I love it so much it makes dealing with the difficulty of French paperwork worth it. I just feel so free and happy! Provence is my muse and daily inspiration. The light here, I’ve never seen such natural beauty.I miss being around people with great ambition. New Yorkers are truly extraordinary people.
Eloise is so young at this moment I truly do not know what her childhood is like compared to my own. We are still discovering it all together! I do have to say though, I was not eating aged cheeses, truffles, seasonal fruits and organic salmon when I was 13months old! So that is very different.
How do you find managing a brand with your husband and family life?
What works in our marriage is what works in our parenting is what works in our business, we are great partners. The key is having respect for one another.
What has been your favourite project so far?
While the world came to a complete pause do to the global pandemic of COVID-19 I felt completely hopeless. I had lost all of my photographic client work for the year and my exhibition in New York was cancelled. I hated that feeling of uncertainty and so I decided the best thing to do would be to create one piece of art a day for everyday we were in lockdown. I would share that day's creation from concept, process and execution on instagram stories than the final art photograph in the feed with the reflection of that day in the life of quarantine. We made each day into a collectible poster as affordable art available immediately and raised over $30,000 for charity to support artists effected by COVID-19. I named the project #IsolationCreation and asked everyone in the community to also create works and share to discover other artists around the world. Creating beautiful art was not only a positive meditative daily experience but connected a community of support for artists to connect. You can see the project and shop the work which was featured on Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Martha Stewart here: https://jamiebeck.co/
What are you currently working on?
A book about Provence! I’m also shooting an incredible ad campaign later this month in the US for an all-inclusive fashion brand I’m proud to be working with. I also have a small curated selection of photographs going public for sale in April at an event in New York I am co-hosting. I also have two new fashion pieces releasing with the local women’s brand Luxe Provence at the end of March. I am working on a screenplay with a writing partner of a true story I discovered from my time here in France. So many things!
What are you most looking forward to this summer in Provence?
The May roses and the scent of honeysuckle. The first taste of ice cream on a warm day. A picnic with the baby and whatever new discovery Eloise brings into our lives.
How did you first hear about La Coqueta?
Recommended the old-fashioned way, by a friend with great taste!