Brooklyn Beckham’s first photography book is getting panned: predictable?

Brooklyn Beckham, the first born son of the Beckham Dynasty, selected ‘photographer’ as his chosen profession. At the ripe age of 16, he was given a Burberry campaign to photograph. The feedback was – not great. To be fair, it wasn’t terrible, mostly people pointed out the photos were staid and unimaginative and, well – amateurish. So of course, Brooklyn took the constructive criticism and used it to improve his abilities. Just kidding, he did nothing with it, continued taking photos and scored a deal with Penguin Random House for his first photography book entitled, What I See. Even though his parents said the book could not be released until the end of June so the now 18 year-old Brooklyn could finish his school, advance copies have gone out and some images have leaked. The reviews are brutal… and hilarious. People with an actual background in photography are taking this book to task. And it’s not just the photos that are drawing criticism, it’s Brooklyn’s captions as well. iPaper’s art editor Alice Jones kicked things off with her tweet:

The captions to those photos above are: “Elephants in Kenya. so hard to photograph, but incredible to see.” and “Dinner. i like this picture – it’s out of focus but you can tell there’s a lot going on.” I feel like I should be in a smoke-filled room wearing a beret and snapping as I read his comments.

Needless to say, Twitter wasn’t done:

Criticism has been such that Penguin Random House felt compelled to issue a statement. They said, “What I See is a book for teenagers, by a teenager, which gives Brooklyn’s fans broader insight into his world seen through his unique and creative perspective.” See? There’s your problem, you’re not a teenager. If you were, that shaded, almost imperceptible elephant would captivate you.

It’s been suggested that this fall Brooklyn will head to university to study photography. No one has mentioned which university he will attend and every outlet carrying the story places “heading to university” in quotes. But that’s the story, the kid who just published a photography book plans to take a stab at studying it. Head, meet desk.

To give credit where credit is due though, all of the profits from Brooklyn’s upcoming private viewing at Christie’s will go to the children affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. Brooklyn and his brothers went to the disaster site the day after the fire and volunteered helping to sort donations and pitch in where needed. Brooklyn was so upset by the tragedy he wanted to do more – thus the exhibit. There are several jokes I could make but honestly, this is good work and it’s nice that he is trying to help.




Photo credit: Joe Alvarez, WENN Photos, Twitter and Getty Images

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76 Responses to “Brooklyn Beckham’s first photography book is getting panned: predictable?”

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  1. nemera34 says:

    Twitter is so funny and shady at the same time. People do so much with those 140 characters. Amazing.

    • Pandy says:

      I know! I loved the fox in the neighbors backyard except it’s dark. So funny! Seriously though, Random House should be ashamed. Find a teenager who actually can take pix if you want a teenager photography book. #Pandering #Nepotismisaliveandwell #Goawayalready

    • LoveIsPatient says:

      Haha, we had an uber wealthy client who produced a book of blurry photographs- the images gave us all vertigo. We pandered. Yep. Even had her giant nauseating photos in the storefront. It was agreed we blew smoke up her you know what. Money!

      • The New Classic says:

        I freaking love Olivia Bee!! Her Instagram is one of my favorites and she’s only 22! She could teach this nepotism “artiste” a thing or two.

  2. Natalie S says:

    It’s nice that he’s trying to help out.

    In terms of his photography skills, I understand why Kate Middleton thought she should release her own tour snaps, because this is the sort of quality that’s praised in their circles.

  3. D says:

    He has fans?

  4. Meredith says:

    I won’t criticize him because he’s just a kid and doesn’t know better. God knows I had ridiculous delusions of grandeur when I was a teenager. I will, however, criticize the adults at Random House who thought this was a good idea and, even more so, his parents who let him do this. This is their fault and at no point did they tell him that maybe he/his skills just aren’t there yet.

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      I agree it feels like the adults in his life set him up for ridicule, and it is not like a “normal” teenager who does something daft and his mates take the pi$$, this is a much wider scale of ridicule that his parents should be protecting him from not actively encouraging.

    • Chaine says:

      But ultimately, thousands of his instagram followers will go out and buy the book, especially if he is doing a book tour where he will be signing it, and it will probably make some money, and his delusions of grandeur will be confirmed.

    • CynicalAnn says:

      Yes-as the mother of teens I feel for this kid. I totally blame his parents for doing this. And I agree part of the stupid Instagram culture where those girls become models and this boy has millions of followers. Sigh.

    • Zoya says:

      My sentiments exactly…I totally blame the adults involved in this situation esp his parents. How in the world did they think this was a good idea? He’s just 16… obviously he doesn’t have the skills nor the experience and insights needed for this kind of project. He’s just not ready. And the internet can be so cruel. Why expose him to that kind of public scrutiny. …ggrrrr I hate ths kind of famewhore parents.

      • Valois says:

        He’s 18. Teenagers at that age graduate, go to uni and work. Then again, I highly doubt he has the education and maturity of a normal 18 y.o.

    • Kitten says:

      Completely agree. I can’t help but feel bad for him. Yes I know he’s led a charmed existence but all the criticism has to really sting, especially at such a young age.

      His photographs are really really…not good. And yes, the nepotism is annoying.
      That being said, he seems like an alright kid and I think it’s commendable that he’s donating proceeds to charity.

      • Carrie says:


        I like VB and her work in fashion and respect her a lot. David too. But they really ought to protect their kids better. They seem to be really nice kids which is how they’ll get more hurt than other kids.

    • LoveIsPatient says:

      I just read that Jacki O’s sister had this same dilettante pandering. Everyone told her she was fabulous, and it didn’t serve her personality- she never gained “traction” nor developed talent. This child’s family- they are doing him a disservice.

    • Betsy says:

      Yes, this is funny but I feel bad, too, even just laughing at others goofing on his pics. Why didn’t his parents say no? I mean I get that it gets harder as they get older, but… a book deal is a pretty big deal.

  5. sophia petrillo says:

    Teenagers are not half as interesting as they think they are, so quelle surprise.

  6. Skylark says:

    Shame on whoever is indulging this rubbish.

    ETA. ^ what Meredith said.

  7. PIa says:

    This reminds me of something I read earlier.

    Stella McCartney has Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss walk in her student fashion show at Central St.Martins in her final year there.

    More nepotism!

    Also is he going to Parsons?

  8. Jeesie says:

    So basically he expects regular people to pay for the kind of rubbish photographs and lame captions every dullard with a DLSR uploads to Instagram for free. Best of luck with that…

    ‘Fox in Next Door’s Garden But it Was Dark’ killed me though!

  9. Belle Epoch says:

    This is how publishing works. ANYONE with name recognition (*cough* Jenners *cough*) gets a book contract, while people with genuine talent are ignored. Really sad. Publishers do not do much of their own publicity/promotion any more, so some other force has to sell the book. Anybody know if he got a big advance?

    • Sixer says:

      Quite a few publishers don’t even have publicity departments any more. They contract it out to freelancers on a book-by-book basis and (even then not always) stick a few copies on Net Galley or somewhere similar for bloggers.

      So you can see why they put this one out. Won’t even need a freelancer. Social media will do it all for free. I should imagine it was pretty clear to them that looking for actual critical review should be avoided at all costs with this particular effort!

    • This is why I’ve made the decision to self-publish my books. Even if you get past the gate and get a contract, you are expected to do all the marketing for it. I can hire an editor, a book cover designer and market the book myself. Why share the profits if I’m doing most of the work?

  10. Margo S. says:

    I can’t hate on a kid helping out victims from that fire.

  11. Jem says:

    I suppose the nepotism was inevitable; but at 16 this is just insulting. Why now? He’s 16 years old!!! Let his balls drop and put in a few obligatory years at college, THEN buy him a book deal. This is just painfully obvious as hell…

    • swak says:

      My grandson found a passion for art, specifically drawing when he was a Junior in high school and was able to take many different classes to help fire up his passion. If Brooklyn was in school at 16 there is a good possibility he may have learned some photography skills either through a class or a club. Somehow I don’t think he will complete any course of study at the university because he will have to take some basic photography classes which, most likely, he will think are beneath his talent.

    • MellyMel says:

      He’s 18, but yeah you’re right about everything else.

  12. Gisele says:

    The level of nepotism involved in this is off the charts. Why would his parents encourage this? Who at Random House decided to give a spoiled, rich kid with no photography skills a publishing deal? These days, everyone fancies themselves to be a photographer. I’ve seen better ‘work’ on random Instagram accounts.

  13. INeedANap says:

    I blame this on his parents. He’s a dumba$$ teenager who thinks he’s deep and talented and a lot of us did too at that age. But his parents should have known better than to open him up to this.

    I hope he takes several years of his life to learn, study, and improve. And I hope David and Victoria spare their other children this embarrassment.

    • Chaine says:

      Too late, they already had one of the younger ones release his first single…

      • YepIsaidit says:

        The kid can’t sing. So sad. They seem like a nice family but idk why they want their kids to be famous. Photography, modeling and singing. None of them have the talent or looks.

      • KBeth says:

        I agree, could they really not have anticipated the embarrassment?

    • Cate says:

      David Beckham was playing soccer professionally at age 17 and Victoria Beckham was auditioning for the Spice Girls at age 20. So my guess is that to them, a kid starting “working” at 16-18 seems pretty normal. Their kids really haven’t been subjected to much (any?) negative scrutiny prior to this so they may not have anticipated that the book would get publicized negative reviews. If anyone, I blame the publishers as they have experience in publishing and should have know the book would get laughed at.

      Also, both David & Victoria have been subjected to a fair amount of negative professional scrutiny (remember David getting carded at the world cup, or Victoria’s early attempts at entering the fashion world), and they are still both filthy rich and professionally successful, so maybe they thought that some negative attention would be NBD or even good for Brooklyn.

    • Alix says:

      A dumb-ass teen, sure, but not a complete Fruit Loop like famed philosopher Jaden Smith.

  14. YepIsaidit says:

    Aww he seems like a nice kid.

  15. holly hobby says:

    Ugh why doesn’t he just compile his horrible photos into a shutterfly book and have mom and dad buy it? Seriously the elephant pic says it all. I wouldn’t know what it is unless it was pointed out to me. The elephant looked like a giant blob.

  16. eatingpie says:

    I mentioned the “teenager” comment to my younger, 16 year old sister. And I don’t think she’s ever been more offended in her life that Penguin Random House assumes that Brooklyn’s piss poor photography book is what she’s going to be interested in throwing money at.

  17. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    ” I feel like I should be in a smoke-filled room wearing a beret and snapping as I read his comments.”

    I didn’t think I could laugh harder than at the photographic leaks, until I read this sentence. Bless you!

  18. teehee says:

    I mean, what?? What are the pictures even capturing at all. Or saying. I dont see a damn thing. Not only is it not capturing a special view or seeing something special in a way that others dont, its not even technically well executed in terms of knowing how to light or even how to focus. Its just a bunch of sh**y snaps like you would find in any persons camera roll on their cell.
    But the cover lets you know that already.
    Yeah, shame on any rich parents over-indulging their kids. Money doesnt give you anything else but money. Not talent, not brains, not skills, not character, not looks– NOTHING ELSE. Use that money to send him to photography courses.

    • Alix says:

      When your captions are essentially excuses for the poor quality of the photographs, you’ve got problems.

  19. Rhiley says:

    I thought The Burberry ad was pretty good. When I saw it, I wondered if he did all of the editing himself because the editing at least is very good.

  20. Neelyo says:

    He is to photography what his mother was to singing.

  21. shelley* says:

    This book was in the pipeline long before the Grenfell disaster and yes it is nice of him to donate the profits, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have the p*ss ripped out of him for his rubbish photography.

    I daresay the profits were always going to go to a charity, as with little brother Cruz’s charity single. That way people laughing at them have to go easy on the criticism.

    ‘ Hard to photograph’ and ‘Out of focus’. Two phrases you really shouldn’t put in your photography vanity project.

  22. Persistent Cat says:

    “Dinner. i like this picture – it’s out of focus but you can tell there’s a lot going on.” is everything to me. The picture is supposed to tell me that, not you.

    His amazing and thought-provoking quotes remind me of The Simpsons when Lisa keeps calling the Cory hotline and listening to his insightful musings.

    But is it wrong that I’d buy a copy if I had a chance to bang his dad? I mean, it’s for charity, right?

  23. Emma33 says:

    I am actually crying with laughter at those tweets. The fox in the dark was just too much.

  24. Aren says:

    “What I See is a book for teenagers, by a teenager, which gives Brooklyn’s fans broader insight into his world seen through his unique and creative perspective.”
    Yeah because we all know teenagers are dumb and unable to appreciate beautiful photography by other teenagers who actually have talent.

  25. DesertReal says:

    Nepotism – when yet another bland, untalented, random somehow makes something out of nothing (when their parent(s) have done it better before them)

  26. M.A.F. says:

    My yearbook staff can take better photos and write better captions than this kid. Good grief.

  27. serena says:

    LOL, love the tweets. While I agree he’s just a spoiled boy -and I can’t see talent but okay- , I think it’s great he’s going to REALLY study photography, at the very least. Also great he donated and volunteered.

  28. Ennie says:

    Hugh grant hair. 90s hair

  29. Disco Dancer says:

    Pardon me for not being a teenager but a dirty old woman instead: I thought it was David Beckham’s penis, for a moment there, until I realized that my aging eyes clearly didn’t see the elephant’s ummm….flapping ears?

  30. Disco Dancer says:

    What I see is a hipster douche.
    What I see is a too big for his face forehead.
    What I see are squinty eyes
    What I see is an entitled brat
    What I see is a guy who needs to wear learn how to wear a belt.

  31. Bitsy says:

    Don’t feel bad for him, he’ll always be rich.

  32. laur says:

    Jeez I’ve seen people take better photos on their mobile phones what with the camera technology we have available now, but none of them would call themselves a photographer! This is just… Bad…

  33. lyla says:

    Did he not take a photography class in high school? My high school photo teacher would not let these pass. She would have ripped these apart. smh.

  34. magnoliarose says:

    He is a very average kid but his parents think that because they are famous and rich that their children must be extra special. But the truth is David Beckham was an athelete not an artist and she isn’t all that as a singer. Their kids are average in every possible way and nothing is wrong with that but the parents are trying to prove differently by pulling strings to give him opportunities that he has no talent to do. Why they subject him to this I don’t know. The backlash will be harsh but it is their fault.

  35. Anon55 says:

    Ouch! Y’all are so harsh! Rich or not, he’s still a person. I don’t even think he’s a “bad” person. What actual harm are a few bad photos doing to the world? Sheesh.

  36. Ellie71 says:

    These photos , should have been kept for his family to ooh and ahh over , and on an instagram page.
    Talk about insulting saying this book is for teenagers. Even when I was a teenager I could still spot crap.
    I don’t know what use his parents would be, his mother has made a very good life on very little talent .
    Best quote ever “Victoria is very lucky she is married to David”.
    Other words she would be a no name, has been if not for his name.
    But then she did build their brand single handled. Wonder what the qualified people at their management company did during this time. It is all just PR and very clever marketing. By professionals.

    • Shirurusu says:

      I agree with you, I was a teenager in the 90s and I was into Anton Corbijn and Robert Mapplethorpe because I thought they were so cool then. I would have never bought a book by someone my age, especially someone without any discernible talent. I guess we’ll see if they are right and todays teenagers really do buy crap! 😀

  37. Flufff says:

    The thing is, it’s not hard to take a decent photo. Real talent is rare, of course, but anyone can point an iphone at something in good light, focus and click it. Anyone but Beckham. These are not even “vacation snapshot on Facebook” quality.

    These look more like the photos my grandmother who does not ‘get’ technology takes when I ask her to take a picture of me with my phone and it takes her 17 goes just to hit the button and point the camera in vaguely the right direction simultaneously. Sorry nanna.

    I do find the Beckhams fascinating in their contradictions. They are utterly ruthless famewhores who are devoid of talent and willing to fake relationships and pimp out their children in pursuit of fame. Essentially they are the Kardashians with smaller rear ends. Yet by all accounts they are all lovely, modest, polite people in real life. Odd.

  38. Susan says:

    His book and particularly the captions are giving me “Pippa Tips” feels.

  39. Wilder says:

    Sigh. This reminds me of when Jessica Seinfeld got her first book deal, for the cookbook about hiding vegetables in your kids’ food. It was the most unoriginal idea in the world (remember the fight with the actually qualified chef who wrote pretty much the exact same book at the same time?), and the recipes were totally basic, but she’s married to Jerry, so the publisher knew the book would be a hit, no matter what was in it.

    Photography and cooking. Celebs with too much money and time seem to gravitate to these activities and then consider themselves experts after just a few months. It’s ridiculous.

  40. my3cents says:

    What I see: Nepotism.

  41. LaBlah says:

    All the things about nepotism and his not so great photography talent and even worse captions (whatever gifts are in the Beckham DNA, erudition and intelligence are not among them) have been said already but I can’t believe no-one has mentioned the weedy moustache. Why do teenage boys do that to themselves?

  42. Sage says:

    Nepotism for sure. He took advantage of his surname. This was expected considering their parents.