Uncle Ben said it best in the first film adapted version of Spider-Man circa 2001. The lesson was that with great power comes great responsibility. Growing up with privilege can definitely have its power, and it can also be curse.
Brooklyn Beckham, the oldest of the David and Victoria Beckham clan, is currently the poster child for this frame of mind in the art world with his new photo book titled “What I See”. What it is, is a candid and sometimes intimate glimpse into his celebrity life by a means of picture taking accompanied by underwhelming, curt captions. What it is not is a book of tack sharp images that demonstrates a mastery of the form. Respectively, the book is priced at £8.50 in the UK and approximately $17.61 in the US.
The backlash from critics is founded on the idea that an average photographer with his current skill set would never be handed a book deal. It could be argued that a phenomenal photographer with limited financial means and a less than sub par social media following would never be given the time of day by a publisher either. Having a famous last name definitely has its perks.
Brooklyn Beckham has millions of avid followers and there is no question that his book will sell. His loyal fans want to see the world through his (perpetually out of focus) lens and get an inkling of what his life must be like. There are much worse things that he could be doing to express himself.
“What I See” will most likely inspire thousands of youngsters to go pick up a camera. This is awesome and disheartening all at once in a world where quality is becoming less relevant and being replaced by social influence.
What professional photographers can hope is that Brooklyn will take this art form seriously, put in the time to master and learn to focus the high quality film cameras like Hasselblad and Leica that he is usually found donning in pictures on social media, leading the way for his fans to follow suit.