Brook­lyn shoots!

Brook­lyn Beck­ham shares pictures from his new photography book – in­clud­ing some can­did fam­ily pho­tos.

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - BROOKLYN SHOTS -

Given that his par­ents are David and Victoria Beck­ham, I am ex­pect­ing Brook­lyn Beck­ham to look freak­ishly fa­mil­iar, and bed rip ping with self- en­ti­tle­ment and Saint Lau­rent. I am def­i­nitely not ex­pect­ing him to be ner­vous. Yet ner­vous he is, his words hes­i­tant and softly spo­ken, al­beit in the bi­coastal ca­dence that dis­tin­guishes the in­ter­na­tional jet set. What­ever the priv­i­leges of his birth, Brook­lyn is mod­est, well man­nered and markedly less cocky than the av­er­age 18-year-old.

He be­came in­ter­ested in photography when he was 14, shortly af­ter the fam­ily moved back to London from Los An­ge­les. ‘My dad bought me my first cam­era [a Fu­ji­film, though he has since moved on to Le­icas]. I just car­ried it around and started tak­ing pho­tos .’ He is cur­rently study­ing photography at an arts col­lege in north London, where fel­low pupils in­clude Rocco Ritchie and Anaïs Gal­lagher, and is about to sit his A-lev­els when we meet. ‘I feel like I should be ner­vous, but I’m re­ally not,’ he says. ‘What hap­pens, hap­pens.’

It al­ready has. In Au­gust, he will take up a place at one of the most pres­ti­gious art and de­sign col­leges in New York. ‘I got in on my own, not be­cause of my par­ents,’ he says. ‘Which is cool. And they gave me a schol­ar­ship, so…’

Has he de­cided where he’s go­ing to live?

‘It sounds bad but I don’t ask peo­ple if I can take their photo’

‘Brook­lyn! No, I’m jok­ing.’ He re­alised ‘three or four years ago’ that it was not his destiny to be a foot­baller. ‘It was re­ally hard,’ he says. ‘I played foot­ball for 14 years, and most peo­ple ex­pected me to go in my dad’s di­rec­tion. I felt I had to play bet­ter than all the other boys. Even when I messed up a lit­tle, they were like, “OMG, David Beck­ham’s son messed up.” I love play­ing foot­ball – I still some­times play it–but there was a lot of pres­sure on me. And then I kind of manned up and said to my dad, “Do you mind?” He was al­ways chilled about it. He wanted me to do what­ever made me happy.’

That Brook­lyn was hired to pho­to­graph a fra­grance cam­paign for Burberry aged 16 was in­evitably a source of amuse­ment and even out­rage to his de­trac­tors. But if last year’ s Burberry Brit cam­paign( for which he shot a se­ries of por­traits of young, up-and- com­ing mod­els) served to in­tro­duce the con­cept of Brook­lyn-as-pho­tog ra­pher to t he world, his new book strength­ens the idea that he is se­ri­ous about his photography. Fea­tur­ing 300 images drawn from his trav­els, his fam­ily life and his day-to-day life in London and New York, What I See‘ of­fers his fol­low­ers a rare glimpse at the world through his eyes ’, ac­cord­ing to pub­lisher Pen­guin Ran­dom House. Fans will es­pe­cially love the re­laxed and can­did na­ture of the fam­ily shots, whose off-duty

‘I love play­ing foot­ball but there was a lot of pres­sure’

feel is a charm­ing coun­ter­point to the clenched pap shots and tightly con­trolled prism through which one of the world’ s most fa­mous fam­i­lies is gen­er­ally seen.

How do the Beck­hams feel about him tak­ing their pic­ture ?‘ It was hard to get them ap­proved,’ he says wryly .‘ Took bloody ages. Most times, I’m se­cre­tive about tak­ing them. If my mum sees me tak­ing a pic­ture, she kind of poses and stuff, and I don’t re­ally like that.’

He say she car­ries his cam­era ‘ever y where – I never turn it off’ – which must be dis­con­cert­ing for his friends and fam­ily. ‘None of my pho­tos are set. I like us­ing nat­u­ral light. That’s why Steven Meisel is one of my favourites – when he uses nat­u­ral light. It’s harder than a stu­dio.’

The book shows just how much Brook­lyn has trav­elled, with lush shots of New York, Los An­ge­les and Kenya, and some stun­ning scenic shots of Ice­land .‘ I loved Ice­land ,’ he says dream­ily. ‘The views were in­sane. It was crazy. We went salmon fish­ing.’

Was that a fam­ily hol­i­day, I ask, imag­in­ing Victoria in ga­loshes, a rod in one hand and a mag­got in the other. ‘One of Cruz’s friends is Ice­landic. We went to visit them, and they showed us how to salmon fish. I didn’t catch any­thing, but it was fun.’

Though he won’t rule out do­ing more fash­ion photography in the fu­ture, Brook­lyn prefers re­portage. ‘Lately, I’ve been go­ing to Cam­den and… I know this sounds bad, but I don’t ask peo­ple if I can take their photo. I just go up in their face, be­cause you get their proper reaction. But some get mad. Like, if they see me point­ing [my cam­era] at them, they kind of move to the side. Peo­ple get re­ally weird about it. I don’t know why.’ Partly as a way of en­gag­ing him – and partly, I ad­mit, as a way of test­ing how much he knows about his sub­ject, I ask whether he gets quite nerdy about his lenses. ‘Very nerdy,’ he says. What’s his favourite? ‘My dad got it for me for my birth­day… the 50 mm. It goes down to a 0.95 which means you can lit­er­ally shoot in the dark,’ he says. ‘It’s such a hard lens to get. You can shoot at night and see the stars and stuff.’

Is he one of those pho­tog­ra­phers who treat their cameras like new­born ba­bies, and won’t let any­one else touch them?

‘Um… yes and no. But I re­ally do look af­ter them.’

So he wouldn’t let any of his friends have a go?

‘No ,’ he says quickly .‘ Well, it de­pends. Like, I only have two mates I can trust. With my cam­era, I mean. I don’t let just any­one use my cam­era.’

What about his fam­ily? Has any­one ever bro­ken his equip­ment?

‘O of !’ he says .‘ Well, it was an ac­ci­dent. But on hol­i­day, at Christ­mas, me and my brother were sit-

‘I feel peo­ple will re­spect me more now that I’m mov­ing to New York’

ting on the front of a speed­boat. And I was sit­ting on a towel, and my cam­era was in be­tween my legs. I turned to the side of the boat, and then my brother got up and the towel went up and my cam­era fell into the ocean.’ Oof, in­deed. Which brother? Name and shame! ‘Cruz. He was dev­as­tated.’ He says he loves tak­ing pictures of his fam­ily. ‘Es­pe­cially my lit­tle sis­ter,’ he beams.

I am de­lighted that he has brought up Harper, a sub­ject I feared might be ver­boten. ‘It’s been amaz­ing – re­ally dif­fer­ent,’ he says of hav­ing a sis­ter. ‘I haven’t re­ally re­mem­bered Romeo and Cruz be­ing young, be­cause I was young as well, but see­ing Harper grow up is pretty cool.’ Does she ever let him do her hair? ‘Never,’ he says, look­ing hor­ri­fied. Given t hat she has st rong opin­ions about her mother ’s

clot hes, does Harper ever tell him off for what he wears? ‘She does. Although the other day, she came up to me and was like, “Brookly n, you ac­tu­ally have pret t y good dress sense.” She ac­tu­ally came up to me and said that,’ he says, look­ing chuffed.

What was he wear­ing to war­rant the ac­co­lade? ‘I just wear… not to­day, but I usu­ally wear proper coun­try clothes. Like a baker boy hat, Peaky Blin­ders kind of thing. I don’t re­ally wear it to school, but that’s ba­si­cally my look.’ Like a coun­try gent? ‘Yeah.’ It sounds as though Harper favours a smarter look, I say. ‘Yeah.’ To be a Beck­ham child is to be per­pet­u­ally doubted for your tal­ents: with all four now reg­is­tered as brands, it comes with t he ter r itor y. What­ever else t heir det rac­tors might ac­cuse them of, no­body can say David and Victoria have ever been afraid of hard work, and this ethic ap­pears to have been passed on to their el­dest. If ded­i­ca­tion is the key to suc­cess, Brook­lyn is half­way there. ‘I don’t think peo­ple re­alise now that this is what I want to do,’ he says earnestly. ‘That’s why I show peo­ple this.’ He pulls up the arm of his Kappa hoodie, re­veal­ing a life­size tattoo of a Le­ica cam­era. Oh! I say. Who did that? ‘Woo.’ Who? ‘Woo. He’s an LA artist. He’s in­sane.’ How sore was it? ‘Wasn’t that sore.’ How long did it take? ‘Five hours. When I got this and showed peo­ple, they were like, “Why did you get that?” And I’m like, “Be­cause I’m se­ri­ous about photography – that’s what I want to do.” And they’re like, “What hap­pens if you change your mind?” But I feel like peo­ple will re­spect me more now that I’m mov­ing to New York on my own. Once this book comes out, I feel peo­ple will take me se­ri­ously as a pho­tog­ra­pher.’ He pauses. ‘Hope­fully.’

What I See (£16.99, Pen­guin Ran­dom House UK), by Brook­lyn Beck­ham, is pub­lished on 28 June. To or­der your copy for £14.99 plus p&p call 0844-871 1514 or visit books.tele­graph.co.uk. The book, which con­tains 300 images, will be launched with an ex­hi­bi­tion in part­ner­ship with Polo Ralph Lau­ren at Christie’s, 103 New Bond Street, London, on 27 June. The ex­hi­bi­tion will run un­til 7 July be­fore mov­ing to Los An­ge­les in Au­gust

Top Un­ti­tled, London (‘Romeo and I were wait­ing to see our sis­ter’s bal­let recital and we bought her flow­ers. I love this pic­ture’).

Above Cody at the Beach, Los An­ge­les

Top Un­ti­tled, London (‘My sis­ter loves draw­ing. I taught her and we do it to­gether some­times. This is her at the kitchen ta­ble’).

Above Coney Is­land, Au­gust 2016

Above Un­ti­tled, Coney Is­land

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