The Legendary Work of Documentary Portrait Photographer Janette Beckman

British-born photographer Janette Beckman began her career at the dawn of punk rock, working for music magazines such as The Face and Melody Maker. She shot artists from the Clash to Boy George, as well as three album covers for the Police. After moving to New York City in 1983, she was drawn to the underground hip-hop scene and photographed pioneers of the emerging genre, such as Run-DMC, Slick Rick, Salt-N-Pepa, Grandmaster Flash, and LL Cool J.

Beckman’s portfolio spans from the late 1970s, when she began photographing mods, skinheads and youth subcultures.

“In some ways hip hop had so much in common with punk in the UK, just in the fact that people did not have money and were forced to become very creative with what little they had.”

Her work has been shown in galleries worldwide and is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Museum of the City of New York and the British National Portrait Gallery.

She has published five books including in 2018, ‘The MashUp’, a collaboration with iconic New York graffiti artists reinterpreting her hip hop images. Her monograph covering four decades of photography, ‘Rebels From Punk to Dior’ will be published by Drago at the end of 2021.

Beckman continues to chronicle sub-cultures of our generation and as well as working on shoots for clients such as Levis, Apple and Dior. She is represented by the Fahey Klein Gallery in Los Angeles.

All photos are copyright of Janette Beckman photography.