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Style Story / Jamie Beck

2 weeks ago by

Photos Jamie Beck

A couple of years ago, Jamie Beck did the thing that so many of us dream about– she left the stress of New York City to live a more simple life in Provence, France.

While the relocation made her more emotionally at ease, it’s also clear that in her new life she’s creatively fulfilled as a photographer (just check out the heart-breakingly beautiful images on her Instagram page). We wanted to take a dive into Jamie’s life so we asked her to shoot a series of self-portraits for us and tell us a little bit about her story.

dore style story jamie beck ann street studio

Christina: Tell me about your journey of moving to Provence. How did it come about?

Jamie: I came to this region on a photo job, actually–I fell in love with it and I could never shake it. I came back for another photo job a year later and I brought my husband, and it just got into my soul.

We were coming back from an overseas flight and I thought the plane was going to crash — just rare anxiety — and the first thing that popped into my head was, “Great! Now I’m never gonna know what it’s like to live in France.” So I thought, if that’s the first thing I think of when I think I’m going to die, I should probably do that. I made a promise to myself that if the plane lands, then I’m going to move to France. Obviously, the plane landed.

My husband was not aware that any of this was going on in my head. I was like, “Okay! I’m moving to France!” He’s like, “Ooh… when?” And I’m like, “Next month!” And he said, “Okay!”

dore style story jamie beck ann street studio

dore style story jamie beck ann street studio

dore style story jamie beck ann street studio

dore style story jamie beck ann street studio

Were you married then?

We were married. We knew we wanted to leave New York. We were super unhappy, so stressed out from work and life. We were at this stage of, “What is this all for? What is this all about?”

He was going to go to L.A. and, eventually, I was going to join him after a year in France. I got the visa; a month later, I was here.

I loved it. It ended up being much more life-changing than I even anticipated, much richer. Later, my husband came to visit and he saw what it is that I saw. He saw how I changed and the work that I was doing, how much more balanced of a person I was, healthier. He’d stay for longer and longer and then he moved here. We decided to put L.A. on pause. I thought, there is no way I can go to L.A. now after being here. It would be like going back to New York, that same stress. He agreed. We decided to get our visas properly and commit to being here until we’re ready to not be here anymore.

dore style story jamie beck ann street studio

Was your intention always to work as a photographer?

I still do commercial work, that’s how I make my living. Part of being here was leaving a lot of the commercial aspect of my work, and being able to be the photographer that I wanted to be. For me, it’s much more about the human experience, expression and ideas, and less about, “I want to sell this beauty product, or these shoes.” But with that said, I still have been fortunate enough to work with commercial clients that are really cool.

The more personal work I did in France, I thought, well this might be the end of my career, but I just know I have to do this thing, and I’ll start over and it will be fine. But, it was really amazing because I started putting out all this personal work–I was really growing as a photographer and finally focusing on things that really meant something to me and experimenting with the craft–and then, I started getting jobs based on what I was doing in my personal work. That was the best feeling in the world–I get to show up to jobs and do what I’ve been doing and be totally who I am, instead of mimicking a trend or a reference. I get to really bring myself to the work and that’s been one of the biggest surprises of my journey here.

You have such a distinct personal style–very romantic, very feminine. Is that how you always were, or is it a result of moving to Provence?

I’ve always been, mentally and emotionally, very romantic–as far as what I like to read and watch, how I thought and what I dreamed of. But in New York, it’s just not practical.

I had an armor in New York–I wore black, very simple, sophisticated, powerful, easier for hopping around the city. Now, all I wear is white and tan, haha. Mostly linen. Long, white sleeping gowns do not play out well in New York. So yes, my style has completely changed. I keep looking for French designers who do bigger sleeves, more ruffles, more lace!

Style Story / Jamie Beck

Tell me about what inspires you, both your work and your personal style? It sounds like it’s mostly nature, but is there anything specific that strikes you?

I think of places in the world as characters, so the way I dress in Provence is not the way I would dress in Paris or New York or in L.A. So, I have these little characters that I dream about and it’s visualized in a place.

I look around in Provence and all the stones and the villages have been here for thousands of years. They’re Roman and bleached out by the sun. Or, they’re limestone, all white, light grey, and warm tan. I like to camouflage myself in the landscape. I want to be able to watch and observe the world around me in order to capture it, to quietly observe in order to create the story I’m trying to tell. To do that, I want to blend into that world.

There are times when I’ll go to a chateau and a chateau is not an ancient Roman stone wall, it’s a total fairytale. So, I have all these fairytale dresses full of lace. It’s fun to give a nod to the history of a place through fashion. There’s nothing worse than going to a chateau and seeing someone wearing a modern day t-shirt. It’s like, what are you doing? It just feels wrong, you know, pay homage… at least wear a floral!

I really admire people that have their personal style down, and that’s it, no matter where they are in the world. I would love to have more of a uniform, but I just can’t. I’m so emotional, I feel places, and I feel like I have to fold into the place to get the experience that I want.

dore style story jamie beck ann street studio

I’ve been living in New York for a long time and if I were going to move somewhere remote, I’m worried I would miss being surrounded by the energy of ambition, competition, creativity–the scene of the city. Is that something that ever bothers you?

I know exactly what you’re talking about. When I go back to New York, it’s amazing to me, the amount of presence and intensity on people’s faces. I’m like, who are you? What do you do? It’s very exciting. I do miss that engagement, in my mind, of people who are ambitiously creating interesting things. That is tough and it makes New York unlike any other place in the world.

But, I’ve also learned so much about the way I like to work. I thought I could only do this for a year and then I wouldn’t be able to survive and I’d have to go back to the city. But, with discipline, I’ve learned that you can still be an ambitious person outside of that world–while having a bit more balance.

dore style story jamie beck ann street studio

14 comments

Add yours
  • “I like to camouflage myself in the landscape !” J’adore, et que dire des photos ?
    Magnifiques, simplement magnifiques.

  • Wonderful profile and images. Would love to know the source of the necklace with the cursive name and diamond. Bisous!

  • Thank you!! The necklace is by French sustainable jeweler Courbet. They custom make these pieces as necklaces and bracelets at all price points. Simply email them to get a quote :) I never take mine off!
    https://www.en.courbet.com/

  • Katarina August, 8 2019, 11:00 / Reply

    Beautifully written! Thank you for this amazing story. Jamie’s work is really extraordinary.

  • Images worthy of a Renaissance madonna; absolutely breathtaking. Love the affinity with her child, with her surroundings. Magical.

  • Jessica August, 8 2019, 3:44 / Reply

    Literally GASPED out loud when I saw this!! I’m a huge fan of Jamie’s and I have been following her and her amazing work for years!! She is so inspirational.

  • Lisa Walker August, 9 2019, 12:25 / Reply

    best style story EVER

  • saglara August, 9 2019, 1:31 / Reply

    Love seeing my favorite creator from instagram on my favorite platform on the internet??

  • Beautiful article. Jamie’s art is so magnificent, pure joy, and daily source of inspiration for me

  • It is wonderful to see Jamie on Doré! Funny how I’ve been following both Jamie and Garance for ages. It started with loving their take on fashion and style, saving images of outfits that they wore or shot in a folder on my computer and loving how they showed NY. Now that I have made it to the city, they both transitioned out of it into more air and light-filled lives, filled with projects that connect so well with them, I still save images and dream of moving as well! Thanks to both of them for inspiring me for almost a decade now!

  • It’s a beautiful thing to read about one of my favorite people on one of my most read sites. I’m delighted you chose to feature Jamie.

  • Jamie and I are so alike emotionally and in terms of interests and interest in France. She’s quite literally living the dream I aspire to but with a partner who is supportive of it whereby mine would not be. I love following her life in France and feel nothing but joy at seeing her live out our dreams. And with such talent while doing so!!

  • Clotilde August, 10 2019, 1:10 / Reply

    Nice photos, but I keep asking myself what this sentence means :
    “I keep looking for French designers who do bigger sleeves, more ruffles, more lace!”

    Does it mean that French designers are making bigger sleeves, more ruffles and more lace ? Or that she is looking for them because she can’t find any ?
    I have a hard time believing the first explanation is the right one, because virtually NOBODY in France wear this kind of clothes. To us, big sleeves, ruffles and lace look very American, or very English.

  • Mia Dumont August, 11 2019, 7:26 / Reply

    I have been following and admiring Jamie Beck for a few years, before she got married, living in New-York. She used to dress in a vintage style, always so proper and classy. And their “Cinemagraphs” was and still is a wonderful invention. She is a great inspiration for everyone on how to change your life and reach for your dreams. She is truly an “old soul” and maternity made her even more beautiful. A walking Boticelli… to say the least.

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