I was in Waterstones earlier on this month, totally looking at their wrapping paper and card selection for market research and not sniffing new books on the sly. (They smell great.) I was having a lovely time.
That was about to be shattered, however, as I went to look at the photography section and noticed the books that had been put face forward to draw in more attention. There, amongst the Magnum collections and volumes of work by Diane Arbus and Man Ray, at the forefront, were Brooklyn Beckham and Kim ruddy Kardashian. Yeah, so they’re photographers now.
Let’s start with Brooklyn Beckham. Putting aside the fact that he’s like, twelve, has famous brand names for parents and I’m pretty sure that last week he was a model, the photographs are out of focus, and putting it nicely, pretty pants.
SOME OF THEM AREN’T EVEN Some of them aren’t even by him. Exhibit A:
‘my friend took this picture in la. i think i look pretty cool’
Brooklyn Beckham’s ‘What I See’ is a collection of photographs offering a ‘look at his day-to-day life and famous family.’ It’s Instagram. In a book. What I find particularly enraging is the number of photographs that are really out of focus and the inane quotes that accompany the photographs that either he, or one of his mates, have taken.
Eleanor Bailey, writer for GQ magazine reckons that “critics should give Brooklyn Beckham a break and encourage this budding photographer. After all, David Bailey didn’t even get his first photography job as an assistant until he was 21.”
David Bailey has been in the industry for nearly sixty years, not sixty minutes. He also didn’t have the Beckhams as parents. The two are not comparable! The idea that this teenager can possibly be accomplished enough to have earned a place on that bookshelf amongst the Wildlife Photographer of the Year collections (photographers who have spent days, weeks, months trying to get that one photograph that might get them a bit of recognition) and Diane Arbus, who broke boundaries and worked with an incredible passion, is quite simply, insane.
Kim Kardashian’s book of selfies is simply called ‘Selfish’. I could leave it there, but you know I won’t.
It’s FILLED with photographs that she has taken of herself, again, a lot of which are out of focus. Can you imagine being vacuous enough to think that putting a whole tonne of photographs of that you’ve taken of your own face into a book is a good thing to do?
What does this have to say about anything? What even is this? I have so much I’d like to say about this book, but it’s more of a tidal wave of bewilderment with a slight touch of rage rather than words. I just don’t understand. There’s no heart in what this is. There’s a whole load of ass, but no heart. It’s a book designed to glorify a single person without a single trace of talent. It genuinely makes me sad that this is what people want to buy.
Think of the number of incredible photographers that could only hope to get a single photograph featured in a book, let alone have a beautifully finished hardbound one with their name on the front of it. It seems farcical that people who slave away with a real fight and passion for their projects and the work that they do struggle to pay rent, whilst Baby Beckham is established enough to have his own book after just a few months playing with a camera, and Kim Kardashian can Dropbox over a few thousand selfies to a publisher and create a book out of them. And then a revised edition, ‘More me! With new selfies!’ What is the reason for the existence of either of these books? OH YEAH. MONEY. Which reminds me – Instagram.
This was another book face front on the shelf. This is our future. Anybody can be famous!
I feel the need to say that I’m not blaming Brooklyn Beckham or even Kim Kardashian for for publishing a book – I simply find it increasingly frustrating to be part of a society that is glorifying the rich and famous and handing them everything on a plate, at the expense of people with real talent and passion and experience. No wonder it’s getting more difficult for all of us to carve our own careers outside of the box – our platforms are already filled up with celebrities who can model, release an album, star in a film, become a photographer or even a politician, just because. No talent required.
The ability to be creatively diverse should not be reserved for those that are rich or famous enough to decide to do it. If we can put an end to the desire that people feel to own a piece of these celebrities lives, maybe we could make room on those platforms for people with something to say. Somebody that wants to make a difference to the world that we live in, and doesn’t give a toss about how they look whilst doing it.