Guest Editor: Rock photographer Janette Beckman waxes nostalgic

February 10, 2012 | By Getty Images | Archive, Entertainment

Londoner Janette Beckman began her career at the dawn of punk rock working for The Face and Melody Maker. She shot bands from The Clash to The Specials as well as three Police album covers. In 1982, she moved to New York City and documented the pioneers of Hip Hop: Run DMC, LL Cool J, Salt N Pepa and others, as well as the styles of the 1980′s.

Today, she lives and works in NYC, shooting musicians, regular folk and street style for clients like Kangol, KBL, Schott and Casio. Her photographs are exhibited in galleries around the world. Her work is collected in three books: “Made in the UK: The Music of Attitude, 1977-1982″ (Powerhouse 2005); “The Breaks, Stylin and Profilin 1982-1990″ (Powerhouse 2007); and “El Hoyo Maravilla” (Dashwood 2011).

We asked Janette to use our Getty Images Archive as her playground and talk about the images that resonated with her most. Here’s what she had to say:

Growing up in the UK in the late 1950’s and 60’s the papers were full of images of the new pheonomena call ‘teenager’ – for British youth clothes,fashion and muisic went hand in hand.
The Images of Teddy Boys, Mods, Rockers,  all helped to shape the photographs I would shoot and my obsession with what we now call youth culture the styles and the music.


LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1963: Entertainer Nat "King" Cole records at Capitol Recording Studios in circa 1963 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)


Nat King Cole grew up in Chicago, as a youth he would sneak out of his Baprist minister father’s house to hang round jazz clubs listening to the rebel artiists of his day like  Earl Hines,  and Louis Armstrong. I love this photo of Nat king Cole, cool jazz cat, who was the first black man to host a TV show in America in 1956. .


A group of teddy boys enjoy an evening out at the Mecca Dance Hall in Tottenham, London, 29th May 1954. Original publication: Picture Post - 7169 - The Truth About the 'Teddy Boys' - pub. 1954 (Photo by Alex Dellow/Picture Post/Getty Images)


The Teds were the first to walk down that road to te promised land of Teen Age” John Savage wrote in the Face in 1982  It is a great look – spiv meets Edwardian – rumored to have started in the drab  Elephant and Castle area -where I later went to college at  the  LLC .


15th March 1965: American pop groups The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and the Earl Van Dyke Sextet visiting London. (Photo by Michael Webb/Keystone/Getty Images)

I loved Motown – bought my 7” singles at Woolwoths on the weekend – American soul songs – so different from theBiritsh tunes of day.
This photo shows the gorgeous stylish Motown crew in London.


May 18, 1964: Mods invading the beach at Margate, Kent waving sticks and throwing bottles at retreating Rockers. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

The fight between mods and rockers on Brighton beach is legendary. Idealistic passionate kids with different style and music ideas  disrupting a quiet Brighton beach weekend, The upturned deckchairs. cops, chaos – a brilliant photo.


(L to R:) Paul Weller (b.1958) modfather and co-founder of 'The Jam' stands next to a fellow British rock icon, Pete Townshend (b.1945) guitarist for 'The Who', in the Soho neighborhood of London, 1980. United Kingdom. (Photo by Janette Beckman/Getty Images)

Paul Weller (The Jam) met his hero Pete Townshend (The Who) for the first time on Wardour Street in London outside the famous Marquee Club in the summer of 1981. Weller’s look was resolutely Mod, he  told Mojo magazine “You could say it’s a fashion statement, but I think it’s more than that: the working class love of clothes, looking good, rising above your station. I don’t think it will ever die … These clothes, my haircut, reflect my attitude and the music I listen to, and they say ‘I am an individual’.”

This is one of the first shots I took of them that afternoon – it is a moment in time – Weller looking so sharp in his pin stripe suit. Later I listened to them talking about music,  mods and life – the interview and this image was a cover story for Melody Maker.

Editor’s note: Check out Janette’s blog at

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