Professional Photographers Upset David Beckham’s Son Photographed Commercial Campaign

Feb 1, 2016

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Professional Photographers Upset David Beckham’s Son Photographed Commercial Campaign

Feb 1, 2016

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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After his younger brother Romeo participated in a Christmas ad for Burberry, a British luxury fashion house, 16-year-old Brooklyn Beckham was chosen to photograph the company’s latest fragrance campaign.

Claiming that he was chosen due to his parents, David and Victoria Beckham, and his many Instagram followers, professional photographers are complaining about nepotism and the “devaluation of photography”.

Was this a smart marketing strategy or a slap in the face of professional photographers?

Beckham recently announced on his Instagram account that he will be shooting the Burberry campaign, but among the 336,000 likes and 1,350 comments were also quite a few disgruntled photographers.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBH7QphRbIU/?taken-by=brooklynbeckham

One of the frustrated photographers was fashion photographer Chris Floyd, whose clients’ list includes media outlets such Esquire, Vogue, Sunday Times, ESPN, and The New Yorker. Floyd told the Guardian that the company showed a lack of respect for experienced and hardworking professionals. He added that the decision to hire such an inexperienced photographer was a “devaluation of photography”.

Floyd, who’s had his fair share photographing celebrities as well, spoke about how the budding photographer’s jump into the deep water “goes against everything his parents represent”:

“David and Victoria Beckham represent sheer willpower and graft. Especially her, she’s climbed that mountain all by herself. They represent hard work and then their 16-year-old year son comes along and it’s sheer nepotism. He hasn’t done it from hard work, which is counter-intuitive to what his parents represent.”

That being said, Floyd also understands the marketing value of choosing a young star with millions of Instagram followers, calling the decision “clever” but having nothing to do with producing good photography:

“Part of me takes my hat off to Burberry and says that’s clever, but the photographer side of me says for god’s sake. Brooklyn Beckham’s got however many million Instagram followers, that’s what’s attracted Burberry. The people his age are Burberry’s target market or the future target market.”

In case you were wondering, young Beckham has over 5.9 million followers, so the added value for selecting him is quite obvious.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBKt6CJxJGT/?taken-by=burberry

Another professional photographer who was unhappy about Burberry’s decision was Jon Gorrigan, who said he expected the company would take care of the setup and everything else so Beckham would only have to press the button. Stating Beckham is incapable of doing the work himself, Gorrigan also said he was chosen for his name rather than his talent:

“He’s obviously not going to be doing the lighting, he’ll have no clue of the programmes, the cameras or Photoshop. It’s going to be so well managed – he’ll have the best hair and makeup, the best models, the very best equipment, so that the chance of any risk is greatly reduced.

It infuriates me because I learned my trade and other photographers learn their trade but he’s not learning his trade. I can understand why they’re doing it, getting the younger generation interested in Burberry. It definitely annoys me. Names sell, don’t they?”

“People who are under-trained can get a good result with an Instagram filter. I suppose it keeps me on my toes,” Gorrigan concluded. “The industry is like that, a bit of injustice in a lot of areas.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBK-LQVxJAi/?taken-by=burberry

Not everybody spoke against the controversial decision, though. Sarah Brimley, now a photographer but until recently an assistant to the fashion photographer David Bailey, was on Beckham’s side:

“I don’t think he feels entitled and I don’t imagine he’s this spoilt brat. He hasn’t had to do the work the rest of us have to do but … he probably knows how lucky he is.

“There is a proportionate amount of people who work hard and others who just have it handed to them. Brooklyn is lucky now but he hasn’t had the years of assisting some of us have had”.

“The slow and steady route is a guarantee to success if you have the talent,” Brimley added.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBLB84LRJJJ/?taken-by=burberry

Unsurprisingly, Burberry itself defend the decision to hire Beckham to photograph the campaign, but also hinted that his online presence had a part in it.

Christopher Bailey, Burberry chief creative and CEO said “Brooklyn has a really great eye for image and Instagram works brilliantly for him as a platform to showcase his work. His style and attitude were exactly what we wanted to capture the spirit of this new fragrance campaign.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBKRuxNxJMH/?taken-by=burberry

While the frustration felt by many professionals is understandable, one must also keep in mind that when the younger Beckham son appeared in the company’s ad it received 11 million views in just two days.

Brooklyn Beckham might have a promising future as a photographer, but at this point I think everybody can agree that his photographic capabilities were not what landed him the job.

The only question is, was this a smart and legitimate marketing move or another move against professional photographers?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBK0SRARJHY/?taken-by=burberry

[via The Guardian]

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Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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8 responses to “Professional Photographers Upset David Beckham’s Son Photographed Commercial Campaign”

  1. Juil Avatar
    Juil

    People are overreacting.
    There are many professional photographers who get assignments based on their name alone. Whether their work is quality or not has little to do with it.

    These campaigns are foremost marketing campaigns. Their goal isn’t to show how good the photographer is. It’s to get their message out there. And they did their job.

  2. Roberto Morocutti Avatar
    Roberto Morocutti

    A sad world made of numbers…

  3. martin gallagher Avatar
    martin gallagher

    The good camera he’s using will make up for the lack of experience &expertise surely, lol..

  4. Alecio J Evangelista Avatar
    Alecio J Evangelista

    I think the move from Burberry was brilliant

  5. Nath Bala Avatar
    Nath Bala

    Just come back from his instagram:

    Christopher Bailey, Burberry chief creative and CEO said “Brooklyn has a really great eye”
    Yeah Steevie Wonder too.

  6. Eddy Kamera Avatar
    Eddy Kamera

    This is nothing. Some time ago, a picture of a potato was sold for a million.

  7. TheInconvenientRuth Avatar
    TheInconvenientRuth

    Petty jealousy. If your dad’s a plumber and he lets you take over the family business, no one complains about nepotism. Or even gets you a gig at the local electrician because they’re buddies, no issue. If your dad is famous and therefore you get famous by proxy and get a cool gig, good for you. What if the kid actually HAS skills and talent? Has ANYONE bothered to check? ANYONE? What if he is self-taught, like so many battle-hardened pros have as their (only) claim to fame? No matter what this kid does, he’s not gonna get a fair shot because everyone will assume he’s doing it on his parent’s wings.. Let’s see the end results first (but everyone will be shooting him down anyway: “Oh, I could do that too if I had THAT crew and THAT model and THOSE assistants…).

  8. Vanitas Foto Avatar
    Vanitas Foto

    Boo boo there are a lot of panty-waist crying here, man or woman up! The kid got the job and you didnt.

    But also the photos are quite good much more than what I see from those protesting the kid got this gig…

    But also the kid not only is talented but also he has a ton of followers in instagram to market the products directly to them.

    Jealousy is such an ugly habit.. and the net is full of people with those kind of people ugh!