Beckerman Photography focuses on ‘quality’ and ‘creativity’
A solo bike trip to a mountain in Colorado proved to be a defining moment for a young Jonathan R. Beckerman.
At 13, he came upon a striking landscape that prompted him to pull out his mom’s camera, a Canon A1, to photograph the mountain and lake.
“When I took the picture, I thought, ‘This is something I could do the rest of my life,’” the Kent resident said of the experience that eventually led him to open Beckerman Photography in 2007.
Beckerman, a grandson of former New Milford principal and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Stanley Setear, has an extensive portfolio that includes, among other subjects, portraits of business, sports and entertainment professionals.
“I like photographing people because there’s movement and mood,” Beckerman said. “And there’s a story in people’s facial expressions.”
His work has graced the covers of magazines such as Prestige, New Beauty, Lux, Worth, Prinz, Edible Nutmeg and Westchester Magazine, as well as book covers.
“I’m always excited to work with Jonathan when I can,” said Dana Jackson, editor and publisher of Edible Nutmeg. “I appreciate his photographic diversity…he seems to be good at everything.”
“In order to be a successful publication, we have to do more than great stories,” Jackson added. “Visual presentation has to be top notch, so being able to work with Jonathan is valuable.”
Carol Steer, manager of The Smithy Store in New Preston, has worked with Beckerman several times.
“His quality of work and his creativity is out of sight,” she said.
A Connecticut native, Beckerman pursued cinema and photography at Ithaca College, graduating in 2003, before heading to Los Angeles, where he lived and worked for several years as a high fashion photographer.
“My career was budding,” Beckerman said of his time in California, where he said he worked alongside professionals such as Randy Cordero at Cordero Studios and Giuliano Bekor at Lightbox Studio.
Although his career was growing, Beckerman said he felt something was missing. Following the inner call, he moved back to the East Coast eight years ago.
“When the universe calls me, like at the mountain, I listen,” he said.
Upon his return, Beckerman explored two areas of interest — sustainable living and growing his own food — and discovered the spiritual practice of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
“It turns out, the reason and possibly the purpose of coming back east was that I found my spiritual practice, the path of awakening or awareness through compassion and mindfulness,” he said.
He said he hopes his spiritual and environmental practices might motivate others and, to that end, he incorporates mindfulness into his photography.
“When you quiet the mind, it can continue to expand,” Beckerman said. “In order to make quality work, you have to be calm. As a photographer, I have to be twice as calm as a client, so I can see everything.”
The photographer said he also recognizes some clients might be nervous for a photo shoot, so he works with individuals to “make them feel comfortable.”
Sometimes that might include encouraging a client to breathe and quiet the mind.
“I try to get all of the thoughts out of their head so they can relax,” he said.
Elyse Sadtler, who hired Beckerman twice to take photographs for her henna body art business, Henna By Elyse, described Beckerman as “easy to work with (and someone who) will make you laugh with witty comments during a photo shoot.”
“He is really able to capture the message you want to convey in your photographs,” she said.
Beckerman has also incorporated his passion for sustainable living and growing his own food into his photography.
His work is part of the “BEAUTY + BOUNTY Farm to Table Squared” exhibit on view at The Smithy through June 2, and several years ago he showcased his work in the collection “A Campaign for Sustainable Living.”
“He’s a tremendous match for us at The Smithy,” Steer said, citing the store’s focus on sustainability.