Perspective from An American in Provence

by olivia hoffman
© Jamie Beck

All photos taken from Jamie Beck’s book An American in Provence

For our November/December 2022 edition of the magazine, we sat down for an interview with the wildly talented photographer Jamie Beck about her then-upcoming book An American in Provence which you can read if you subscribe to the magazine.

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Since that interview a handful of months ago, Jamie has seen astounding success with her book release. She quickly became a New York Times bestselling author, was featured in an article in Vogue, interviewed for the podcast Second Life and toured around the U.S. and France for book signings.

© Jamie Beck

Her success is fully deserved. After leaving an impressive commercial photography career that she built for herself in Manhattan, Jamie found herself – literally and figuratively – in a small village in Provence, with no intention of staying longer than a year. Over six years later, she is still there with a completely different outlook on life from the one she had in New York.

During an interview in a recent podcast, Jamie candidly explains the phenomenon that comes with being talented at something in American culture: “In America, when you’re really good at something, that means you make money at it, you turn it into a career, instantly.” Like many creatives, Jamie felt compelled to turn her photography skills into a practical job. While there are benefits to turning a passionate hobby into a career, it can be a challenge to maintain that original love for the craft when it gets morphed into a series of projects with corporate objectives.

© Jamie Beck

This pattern plagues a lot of great minds with spirited hearts – especially those who “make it” in New York City. However, it is often hard to recognize and identify because it is hiding under the guise of success. Jamie acknowledges that she had “everything” – a successful job, a booming career, a wonderful husband – and that her life was seemingly “perfect.” Yet, she couldn’t help but question, “Is this it?”. This unnerving realization launched her journey to France, where she learned to embrace a much slower approach to life, allowing her an opportunity to fully appreciate and absorb all the everyday moments.

© Jamie Beck

Upon losing her commercial clients at the onset of Covid, Jamie’s artistic spirit needed a creative outlet. With France in a strict lockdown, there was no opportunity to photograph anything other than what was right in front of her. Accepting this, she launched her “Isolation Creation Series” where she challenged herself to produce a piece of “photographic art” every day for 60 days. In this process, she not only rediscovered her original joy of photography, but also unveiled a transformative perspective on the “mundane.”

© Jamie Beck

The photos she took during this journey through her enlightened perspective became the outline for her book An American in Provence. Describing herself as “a painter of photographs,” each one of the photos printed in Jamie’s book tells a story deeper than the object in front of her. The scenes that she captures on camera and ardently edits are intentional, artistic representations of what her mind’s eye sees.

While she knows this photographic book will make readers dream about the South of France, she hopes that it does much more than that. An American in Provence was Jamie’s attempt at helping people see the beauty in everything that surrounds us in our daily lives. A trip to France one day would be nice, but it is just as possible to experience many marvelous things on a trip to your local market.

© Jamie Beck

Once blind herself to these small pleasures, Jamie explains, “it’s such an easier life when you can see how lucky we are, how beautiful things are around us. And if you start to become more creative with it, if you start to see it and engage with it, ultimately, you’ll create a beautiful life for yourself.”

To kick off the year with Jamie’s inspiring energy, you can purchase An American in Provence here and check out her website to purchase prints of any of the photos in her latest book. On the MFCH Box & Boutique, our February Box was curated by founder Sharon Santoni with Jamie Beck and will include 8 beautiful surprises. There is still time to purchase the box on the boutique website – but don’t delay, we are almost sold out!

All photos taken from Jamie Beck’s book An American in Provence

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