Agriculture in the World

Author Interview: Jamie Beck


I first began following Jamie Beck on Instagram after discovering her by way of a mutual flower pal and have been utterly obsessed together with her work ever since.

For these of you not acquainted, Jamie Beck is a photographer and visible artist who lives and works in Provence. In 2016, Jamie left her busy life in New York Metropolis for a one-year sabbatical within the south of France and by no means turned again.

Jamie’s work has the flexibility to move you into one other world. It’s like falling down probably the most stunning rabbit gap, getting misplaced in a completely totally different time. Along with sharing her stunning work with the world, she additionally generously shares her artistic course of, which I completely love.

Jamie Beck poses with her book An American in ProvenceJamie simply printed her first guide, An American in Provence, which is described as a “stunning assortment of beautiful portrait, scenic, and still-life images.” Jamie despatched me an early copy a few months in the past and I completed it in a single sitting, clutching it as I moved from room to room. As quickly as I set it down, my mother picked it up and devoured it with equal depth and it sparked a sequence of actually significant conversations about how we spend our days and what actually issues.

This guide has shortly grow to be one among my all-time favorites and I extremely encourage you to order a number of copies, one for your self and for gifting.

I used to be fortunate sufficient to get the prospect to interview Jamie for the weblog concerning the guide and her artistic method. Get able to be impressed!

Provence, France landscapeAn American in Provence is completely overflowing with inspiration, from breathtaking images to candid storytelling, seasonal French recipes, and knowledgeable photograph suggestions. There may be a lot to remove that it’s laborious to know the place to begin! How did this guide come about?

All of it occurred unintentionally in case you can imagine it! After I got here to Provence I didn’t have targets in thoughts aside from to only expertise the tradition and a special lifestyle that had captured my creativeness. As I set out on my first 12 months in Provence, I took notes in my journal of the observations I used to be experiencing, from the altering pure panorama to the provencal experiences of markets and the way it felt struggling by way of a overseas language, what it was like dwelling in a village 2,000 years previous and with out air con, to the modifications that start to happen inside me I had not anticipated to come back from my 12 months in Provence. I made these notes all of the whereas photographing every little thing I used to be discovering. Finally, the pictures turned little visible tales of those classes. This guide, An American in Provence, is the fruits of those written classes and visible artwork tales of what’s now, the previous six years dwelling in Provence!

Jamie Beck lying in a field of wild lavenderThe guide is organized by season, and displays “a rhythmic cycle of life” you appear to have rediscovered in Provence. Are you able to speak extra concerning the significance of reconnecting with nature?

Nature in Provence is EVERYTHING. It’s what offers us the unbelievably unimaginable meals elements offered at native farmer’s markets, the flowers, the wine, the bees, and butterflies. It’s all utterly related right here and surrounds you in a method that folds you in. After I moved to Provence I turned bewitched by nature and the nearer I appeared, the extra magical the invention. But it surely’s not simply the pleasure of witnessing life unfolding earlier than you, however, the best way it feels while you stay harmoniously, seasonally, with it too. I discovered it, for me, to be a more healthy lifestyle permitting every factor to have its second; an ebb and circulation. That method you respect what is sweet within the current and it leaves you with one thing all the time to overlook, and in flip, all the time to stay up for. 

Jamie Beck pregnancy self-portraitYou thoughtfully share about listening to your intestine and your determination to maneuver from New York Metropolis to the French countryside and observe that “by eradicating every little thing I knew, I allowed myself to stay in every second.” What about leaving a metropolis within the U.S. and dwelling in a small village in France has allowed you to embrace that?  

Before everything, you don’t have any alternative however to be stripped of your routine. On my first Sunday in Provence I keep in mind strolling exterior, hungry, able to get some meals … and there was actually NOTHING open. Fortunately I nonetheless had some leftover cheese and baguette from the day before today that I may eat and picked figs off the tree in my backyard. France just isn’t about being accommodating and positively doesn’t stay to make cash just like the USA, which forces you (fortunately, and rightfully so) into their tradition. I got here as a result of I wished to expertise their tradition however I didn’t know I might additionally need to take part in it! It’s humorous now to say that, however I feel as People we simply assume entry to every little thing on a regular basis as a result of that’s what we all know. France is all the time and solely simply being France, which forces you right into a lifestyle overseas to you and you don’t have any alternative however to embrace it—which is an excellent factor! While you “give in” to a different tradition, it actually seems like being a bit child once more, having to study throughout find out how to act, what to do, and find out how to survive. You don’t have any alternative however to be current in every second and every second feels so monumental as a result of it’s laced with discovery and survival!

Jamie Beck running in Provence, FranceYou had been in a position to uncover a lot about your self and find out how to feed your ardour after shifting, however you share that “Your personal artist’s journey can occur wherever, at any time—you simply have to point out up and have braveness.” What are some methods to encourage discovering a little bit of that Provençal magic and making a life you like?

It’s actually easy, discover what you like—no matter it’s! No matter you’re into and simply do this! Have the braveness to focus solely in your ardour. I really feel as if we’re taught that the issues we’re obsessed with are our “hobbies” and never our “work,” which is why you might want to have the braveness to say, “no, that is what I’m into and THIS is what I need to focus my life on.” That may be something! It’s actually as much as you to outline. Outline your life by your passions, not by what is anticipated of you, which you are able to do wherever on this planet, at any stage of life. 

French dessert styled by Jamie BeckYour work so skillfully highlights the sweetness in nature that’s throughout, from the “Terre de Lumière” of Provence to the seasonal meals, flowers in each stage of life, and even bugs! You draw a lot from the realm you reside in however I do know you even have your personal backyard. What issues do you take pleasure in rising your self?

My backyard is my second child! The backyard, which is a small inside backyard (about 35 ft by 35 ft), is positioned within the heart of the village and surrounded by previous buildings. It has one beautiful, massive, fig tree that shades our previous Provençal farm desk. There’s a mattress of historical lavender that grows in wild swirls like curly hair fairly than the normal manicured rows of stick-straight lavender. I’ve a lemon tree, a pergola of white wisteria vines, greater than 17 totally different roses (a mixture of climbing and shrub), a shocking part of hydrangeas that do surprisingly properly, and a handful of blended backyard mattress shrubs and flowers that I simply planted. I can’t let you know the names as a result of they’re all in French and are wildly sophisticated to attempt to keep in mind! I even have a set of lovely blended herbs in terracotta pots: basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, and many others. I’m not that keen on rising issues to eat as a result of the native farmers right here have been doing that, organically, for thus many generations. I might a lot fairly eat what they produce!

Jamie Beck "self-portrait"In An American in Provence, you discuss visible storytelling and “writing your {photograph} first.” You dive deep into a number of the distinctive strategies you utilize, together with combining a number of photographic plates and portray intimately. Are you able to give a normal overview of the method to compose one among your pictures? I do know one photograph can generally take a complete day!

A few of my extra bold tasks have taken weeks to edit! Nonetheless, for many posts, I create one {photograph} a day. Sometimes, I begin with an idea. This may be eager to seize what was on the market that morning or rising within the backyard. Typically, as with my self-portraits, they’re autobiographical primarily based on a specific season of my life. I then forage for my material and props, searching for what speaks to me and stirs emotion or pleasure to create! I convey all these components collectively, whether or not it’s within the studio or at a predetermined location exterior, and start to compose my {photograph}. There are a lot of layers to my photographic course of the place I take a number of pictures I name “plates” after which composite them in post-production Photoshop. This permits me to construct out compositions or create scenes which may not in any other case exist in actual life, however hopefully, feels pure within the closing end result. There are additionally days after I don’t have a topic or idea in thoughts however fairly let the day unfold round me till that second of inspiration presents itself. The best strategy to discover myself in that state is to easily take a stroll by way of my village or in nature. 

Still-life photograph of oranges, butterflies, and flowersYour creations are so plentiful and romantic—from the self-portraits to the Impressionist-style landscapes to people who appear like Seventeenth-century Dutch still-life work. It’s usually laborious to imagine they’re pictures in any respect! Do you’ve a background in artwork? How did you discover your strategy to this sort of stylized images? 

I’ve all the time been creative and drawn to artwork. I’m additionally somebody who sees artwork in every little thing—from a music video to the best way somebody clothes to the packaging of a product. Artwork is all over the place and artwork is all the time an choice. I’m all the time creating. Each element of a day, like getting dressed, is a method for my thoughts to create a narrative. What’s the character, what’s she doing, what’s her message at the moment about life? While you take a look at Dutch still-life work, each object is positioned with intention and carries a narrative, a that means. I feel we have now grow to be blind to the world round us, the mundane issues we contact and work together with each day. In my work, I attempt to reexamine these objects and their place in our lives. That kind of method could be very related to previous artwork actions when individuals had much less generally and objects carried nice significance. So far as my photographic fashion, I actually do really feel as if I paint with the sunshine, and it’s that portray that I imagine makes my pictures of one other time but utterly relatable to each single individual’s human expertise. 

A dining tablescape in ProvenceYou generously share so many beneficial images and styling suggestions in your guide. What would you say is most essential to remember when taking a photograph of a pure panorama or capturing floral preparations?

To have enjoyable! I feel we get caught up within the guidelines of images and one should keep in mind to all the time play. It’s once we are enjoying that we’re having fun with after which, regardless of the result, it was time properly spent. 

Still-life photograph of a wine bottle and fruitI cherished the #IsolationCreation sequence you dreamed up and shared on Instagram through the lockdown the place you created one piece of artwork a day, made prints from that work, and donated a portion of the proceeds to the Basis for Modern Artwork’s Covid-19 Emergency Grants Fund. Can individuals nonetheless buy your prints now?

Once we entered our lockdown in France it was not solely a scary time due to what was taking place on this planet, but additionally as a result of I couldn’t journey to do my business photographic work for the foreseeable future; which is how I made my dwelling for almost all of my life. I couldn’t management what was taking place exterior however what I may do was create one thing constructive every single day—to share this expertise we had been all navigating by way of whereas additionally elevating cash to assist different artists impacted by the pandemic. We retired the sequence earlier this 12 months to create space on the web site for brand spanking new photographic works the place I’ve accessible posters, prints, effective artwork, floral paperweights, nightgowns, and a phenomenal stationery sequence handmade in Provence. 

Jamie Beck pins her hair upWill you speak concerning the impression you’ve felt since Instagram started to prioritize movies and Reels over pictures? Do you see artists and creators shifting to a different platform to share their work?

This has been actually a tricky transition as a photographer. My love is for the nonetheless picture and Instagram has been a champion of the clever up till not too long ago. It’s a sentiment lots of photographers, painters, and writers have had in dialog with me—that our work is what we need to share, and having to shift focus to animating that to ensure that individuals to see our posts not solely provides one other layer to the job however just isn’t the job we wish! I feel the group of Instagram did an excellent job having our voices be heard about what we wish, and for the second they’ve listened. It’s not a shock that social media is shifting to video content material, I feel analysts have been saying this for a decade. The issue is within the algorithm that made us really feel compelled as a substitute of impressed. With that mentioned, being artistic can also be about adaptation and generally nice issues are born out of compelled or constrained circumstances. Images by its very nature primarily based on know-how and from its delivery has been in fixed evolution, so we should be too. 

Jamie Beck self-portraitBetween your images tasks, a brand new guide, a web-based store, and your stunning Luxe Provence clothes collaboration, it looks as if you’ve been busy! Are you engaged on something new proper now or having fun with a interval of relaxation?

Kevin, my husband, and I all the time giggle after I say, “Subsequent 12 months I’ll relaxation,” after which subsequent 12 months by no means comes as a result of there are simply too many fantastic issues to attempt to do in life and such little time! I completely love difficult myself, however much more than that, I like studying.

An American in Provence book with fruit and flowers surrounding it

Thanks a lot, Jamie, for taking the time to share about your unimaginable guide with Floret readers. It’s such a present to the world!

To rejoice the discharge of Jamie’s new guide, An American in Provence, we’re freely giving 5 copies. 

For an opportunity to win, please publish a remark under telling us in case you had been untethered from all obligations, the place you’ll go, and what curiosity would you observe? Winners might be introduced on Tuesday, November 15.


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