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How Janette Beckman Navigated the Male Dominated World of Early Hip Hop Photography

When Janette Beckman learned the “New York Scratch and Rap Revue,” the first Hip Hop showcase in the UK was headed to London, she immediately offered to shoot it for Melody Maker. The year was 1982, and the culture was as fresh as the crease down the front of a pair of Lee jeans. The concert proved to be a turning point in Beckman’s life.

“Everyone was on stage together at the same time: Afrika Bambaataa was on the turntables. Fab 5 Freddy was on the mic, DONDI and FUTURE were making a mural. The Rock Steady Crew was breakdancing. The Double Dutch girls did their thing,” Beckman says.

“It was a Renaissance moment for me. I was used to people in leather jackets thrashing it out on stage and here were these people making art, music, poetry, and dance in this wild, crazy, creative thing.”

Featured

TED Talks by Creative Women To Binge Watch This Weekend

Since 1990 when Monterrey, California hosted the first official TED conference, TED talks have united those curious about new ideas in technology, design and other disciplines – from philosophers and scientists to artists, musicians, and religious leaders. 

In anticipation of December’s TED Women 2019 in La Quinta, CA, we curated a selection of some of our favorite TED talks from creative women over the past decade.

Grab some coffee and get inspired.

Photographing Modern Witches

Loved, revered, and feared — this is the way of the witch from time immemorial to our present day.

Although they may be any gender, witches have become emblematic of the feminine spirit, often vilified as handmaidens of the devil for refusing to kowtow to patriarchal constraints. While witches went underground to protect themselves from persecution, torture, and death, they have always been an integral part of society, immortalized in popular culture, literature, and art. Recently, many photographers have started reconsidering witches as a culturally charged muse, as the archetype embodies the spirit of the independent woman who wields power on her own terms — reclaiming the maligned and marginalized figure from the clutches of those who would sooner destroy her.  

Elinor Carucci’s Emotional Portrait of Middle Womanhood

Popular culture purports midlife is the provenance of men — the time where he gauges his mortality by trading in the mini-van for a sports car, leaving his wife of 20 years for a younger model. But what of the middle-aged woman? What happens to her? It seems she often just disappears from the narrative altogether. 

But behind closed doors, whispers occur, stories of “the change” or something far worse. Midlife, for women, has been treated like a curse, as internal and external signs of aging have been used to erase women, keeping their struggles largely hidden from view. Midlife (The Monacelli Press) by Israeli-American photographer Elinor Carucci breaks this unfortunate history.

From Photo Student Still Lifes to The New York Times: Jessica Pettway Is Changing the Game

In just a few years, Jessica Pettway has gone from SVA photo student shooting props from Canal Plastics to being commissioned by Time, VICE, The New York Times and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Her bold creativity and attention to the humorous and absurd – for example, a slice of pizza riding a roller skate shot for Topic Stories or a diamond bedazzled watermelon – entices brands and editors to hire her, and has landed her acclaimed awards including the PDN 30, Authority Collective’s Lit List, and Adobe’s 20 Creatives to Watch.

Luupe photographer Mikayla Whitmore speaks with Pettway about her favorite assignments, creative challenges, grilled cheese and how to get your work taken seriously and professionally as an emerging photographer.