Brooklyn Beckham, the eldest child of David and Victoria Beckham, teamed up with Burberry on Saturday for the new social media-driven campaign. Beckham is no stranger to the world of social media, boasting 5.9 million followers on Instagram.
The teen has been highly praised by Burberry, and selecting him for the shoot was a natural choice. Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey said in a statement:
“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 in the spirit of this new Brit fragrance campaign and I am loving the shots [from] today’s shoot, which look incredible.”
Some photographers have been angered by Burberry’s choice to use Beckham for the shoot – a choice which they claim was based on nepotism. Fashion photographer Chris Floyd spoke out about it to the Guardian:
“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.”
“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.”
Professional photographer Jon Gorrigan said:
“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?”
Echoing the thoughts of many established photographers, Gorrigan also spoke about the apparent havoc that the digital age is wreaking on the lives of professional photographers.
“People who are under-trained can get a good result with an Instagram filter. I suppose it keeps me on my toes. The industry is like that, a bit of injustice in a lot of areas.”
While frustration about nepotism is understandable, linking it to changes to the industry in general seems to be a bit of a stretch. One blessing that digital photography has brought to both professional and hobbyist photographers is the significant reduction in cost and increase in memory capacity. This means that more photographs can be taken, which indirectly means that there’s more leeway to make mistakes – and therefore, learn. Changes in any industry always seem to give wind to two main groups – those who focus on the cons and rile against newcomers, and those who embrace the changes and take full advantage of the opportunities they can provide.
Brooklyn Beckham is a newcomer, albeit a promising one, who has definitely had a leg-up from Burberry. But ultimately the photoshoot worked. Burberry was able to reach out to the teen demographic they were hoping to reach, and Beckham got an opportunity to take his art to a professional level and – hopefully – show his worth as a photographer.
All images © Brooklyn Beckham.