When Arlington-born photographer Jamie Beck moved to France in 2016, she planned to stay for a short sabbatical from her photography career. Fast forward six years, and she’s still here — and she’s got quite a bit of work to show for it. his new book, An American in ProvenceIt is his collection of photographs and articles about his life and career as an artist abroad.
The Martin High School graduate left behind a life in New York City, where she struggled to find time for passionate projects in the commercial photography industry. In France, his passion for photography was rekindled or, as he put it, revived. “It all started to wake up, and I started to wake up,” Beck says.
Beck studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in the early 2000s and has also worked as a commercial photographer. Beck stayed in New York for a decade after graduating, and her work included photography for well-known brands such as Google, Nike, and Chanel.
In August 2016, Beck was on a flight from Copenhagen to New York, where she thought the plane was going to crash, and had an idea that moving to France was something she had to do before she died.
“I made a promise to myself, if the plane went down, I would move to France,” she says.
About a month later, she got her visa, and moved to Provence. I arrived in the fall and had planned to stay for a year.
Beck said one of the things she noticed after her arrival was how the people in her newly adopted home lived “through the seasons”. It took a few months for him to calm down and recover from his previous life. “Until the following spring, when nature began to bloom,” she says, she began to feel more creative.
Beck maintained some client accounts while living in France or the United States or working on a site for commercial clients. Beck says that because the cost of living in France was much lower than in New York, she was able to work with fewer clients and have more time to explore the area and work on her art.
The seasons play a major role in his story and in his book, which is divided into four sections: fall, winter, and spring and summer. His photographs showcase sprawling French landscapes, seasonal foods, beautiful homes and towns, and self-portraits that often tell a story. Personal essays, seasonal recipes, and photography lessons are also included.
At the end of his first year in France, in the fall of 2017, Beck decided to stay in Provence. Beck still lives there with her husband and their French-born daughter, Eloise.
“The year is over, and I’m not done yet,” Beck said. “I felt like I was still in the beginning.”
An American in Provence By Jamie Beck, released November 8th. Beck also sells her work, including prints and other products, and hosts gallery shows. You can also find Beck on Instagram.