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Is Brooklyn Beckham’s photography book bad? Photographer weighs in as book resurfaces on the internet

In his young age, Brooklyn Beckham has tried his hand at a lot of things.

The eldest son of celebrity couple David and Victoria Beckham has started his career in 2014 as a model, appearing in editorials and covers of fashion magazines, and becoming a brand ambassador for a technology corporation.

There was also the time when he tried to become a professional chef, even going as far as launching his own online cooking show, Cookin’ with Brooklyn. However, the show was under fire after it was revealed 62 professionals had helped him to create each episode.

Perhaps, the one career path that Brooklyn chose to enter that became so controversial was his attempt to become a photographer.

Brooklyn’s journey as a photographer began when he was hired to photograph for a Burberry campaign in 2016.

A year later, he announced that he would study photography at Parsons School of Design in New York City, but eventually dropped out before even finishing his first year.

In the same year, Brooklyn published his first photography book, What I See. Published by Penguin Random House, the book features around 300 personal photographs that Brooklyn took, including photos of himself, landscapes, and his family.

According to the book description, What I See offers “a rare and intimate glimpse of the world through his [Brooklyn’s] eyes,” with each photo accompanied by captions and texts.

Since its publication, Brooklyn’s What I See drew ridicule and criticism from art critics. Just recently, England-based YouTuber, poet, and photographer Rachel Oates made a video review of his photography book after Brooklyn’s photograph of an elephant trended over Reddit.

Oates, who’s had many years of experience as a photographer, admitted that she was conflicted about making the video review as one part of her said that the media personality was only young when he made the book. On the other hand, the other part of her said that who made it and what their age was shouldn’t matter when “looking at the quality of commercial work and art objectively.”

Now onto the content of What I See, right off the bat, Oates criticized the title of the book, saying it should’ve been titled, “Nepotism in Practice.”

For those who don’t know what nepotism is, it is defined as the practice of using a famous person’s influence or power to give their family members or relatives an advantage. Basically, it’s the practice of favoritism based on kinship.

What does it have to do with Brooklyn? Well, since he’s the son of soccer player David and pop star-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, Brooklyn is a nepo baby as he comes from a famous family.

So, when Brooklyn wrote “[W]hen I was approached about curating my photos to publish in a book, [I] was amazed. [I] didn’t think anyone was watching!” in the introduction page of the book, Oates then scrutinized this.

“You’re the son of the two most famous people on this planet. You’ve been stuffed into newspapers and gossip magazines and then social media from the moment you were born […] People have watched you grow up entirely online. Did you really think no one was watching?” Oates said.

She then continued: “I know I’m probably being a little cynical and harsher than usual here, but as someone who comes from literally nothing and who has had to work for everything their entire lives, it bothers me when I see people like Brooklyn Beckham who just handed stuff because of who their parents are and they have no idea how lucky they are. Then they take all these opportunities and just throw them away because they don’t want to actually put the time, effort, and hard work into something.”

Oates then continued to review some photographs featured in Brooklyn’s book, including his father’s tattoos, his family, his feet, his mirror selfies, a dinner photo, and a photo of an elephant with an accompanying caption that says, “[S]o hard to photograph, but incredible to see.”

“This provides no value or interest to anyone who’s reading this book,” Oates said. “There’s nothing you can get out of these photos: no enjoyment, no interest, no value. They’re bland and they’re pointless.”

Oates pointed out that Brooklyn lacks basic photography techniques and it showed in his photographs. “They’re unintentionally out of focus, not correctly exposed. They lack thoughtful composition. They’re just blurry and messy, or they lack any basic competency at taking a photo.”

Oates then criticized his photos as it appears some photos didn’t undergo post-processing.

“He clearly has access to all the things he could ever need or want. Money is not an issue to this guy,” said Oates. “So the fact that he’s leaving these things like this and not doing anything about it screams laziness or incompetency, or he just doesn’t care about his art.”

The England-based photographer also said that some photos in Brooklyn’s book, including his mirror selfies, were only practiced shots and shouldn’t be included for publishing.

Oates also praised some of the celebrity’s photos, such as some event photographs, but still stood by her point that Brooklyn wasn’t good enough yet to publish a photography book.

“He’s still an amateur. He’s a kid and wasn’t ready to have his work published like this and that’s my main problem with this book,” she said.

Having been in the industry for 25 years, Oates admitted that she still doesn’t have the confidence to publish a photography book, so she wondered: “How can anyone think Brooklyn Beckham would really be ready in four years?”

She also added that Brooklyn had only gotten this opportunity and the job to photograph for a Burberry campaign because of nepotism.

“Whoever thought he’s good enough to do the Burberry campaign two years after picking up a camera is insane,” said Oates. “He didn’t get the job because of his skill. He got it because of nepotism, and that’s annoying as hell.”


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Oates then ended her video review with: “Maybe in 20, 30, 40, or 50 years, Brooklyn Beckham could or will become an excellent photographer. But at this point in his life, he’s mildly capable and he’s not ready to be doing stuff like this.”

Oates wasn’t the only photographer who critiqued Brooklyn’s photography book. She’s also not the first critic to point out how being a nepo baby has made Brooklyn receive these kinds of deals and opportunities.

Fashion photographer Chris Floyd described the employment of the media personality for a Burberry campaign as a “devaluation of photography” and “sheer of nepotism.” English art critic Jonathan Jones even called his photographs for the campaign “no bite and no drama, and nothing to say,” saying it has “zero artistic distinctions.”


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