If there is one thing Brooklyn Beckham made clear in his first-ever photo book, it’s that nearly half of his favorite pictures are of Brooklyn.
(And I’m not talking about the one in New York).
Beckham’s recently released publication “what I see” is a collection of his favorite photographs from living and vacationing around the world. In 66 standalone chapters, the Instagram star documents his daily teenage life through portraits of family and friends, beautiful landscapes and far too many moody bathroom selfies.
While the most dedicated of his 10.2 million Instagram followers likely had this book on their reading list to see portraits of Brooklyn and his superstar parents, they’ve probably already seen many of these pictures online.
Brooklyn Beckham didn’t know parents were famous until he was 13
But what Beckham followers might not have expected, sprinkled through the disorganized mess of selfies and cringe-worthy captions, is something more genuine.
Beckham’s strength is in his portraiture, which makes up most of the book’s photos. And while his pictures are far from technically or conceptually sound, his most honest photographs are of his younger siblings, Romeo, Cruz and Harper.
With only five years of photographing under his belt, some of his portraits are still imitative and inauthentic. But the silly, quiet and sometimes sad pictures of his brothers and sister stand out as reflections of his relationship with his family. It’s the pictures of sister Harper making a fuss in the front seat of their car, or Romeo playing with a deck of cards by himself, or Cruz puffing out his chest and making a tough face at a pool party, that for a moment humanizes the Beckham brand.
Unfortunately, even with this sliver of meaningfulness, Beckham’s first photo book fails to rise above anything other than what he claimed it would be: a collection of his favorite pictures.
Brooklyn Beckham publishes a family photo collection
From England to Kenya, the collection flows without purpose, weaving in and out of color, black and white, and then monochrome from the book’s pink, green and yellow colored pages.
The narrative, if there is one, becomes weighed down by meaningless chapters meant to please fans, like when Beckham travels to Galicia, Spain. Paired together as overlapping self-portraits, spread over two pages, Beckham informs the reader, “me looking dapper in galicia, españa. the food there was insanely good.”
Unfortunately, we don’t get to see much of Galicia, or the food, just a portrait of him sitting on a curb.
Or in another chapter when Brooklyn goes to a Kanye West concert and lets the reader know, “i took this at a kanye concert. epic night.”
Some chapters include captions and others do not, but it becomes clear from early on that the book would had been far better off without his words.
There is nothing wrong with sharing pictures while learning how to use a camera, but without purpose or a narrative, it’s hard to find a reason why this photo book exists other than gain a blurry glimpse into the Beckham family’s life.
Beckham’s first photo book has a handful of nice moments, and maybe could have held up with a more selective picture selection. Regardless, it’s clear the Parsons School of Design-bound Beckham’s got a lot to learn.
“what i see” is out now from Rizzoli.
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