Brooklyn Beckham's photography is truly the gift that keeps on giving. His Wikipedia bio might describe him as a chef, former footballer, model and photographer but his debut photo book would suggest otherwise. In 2017, Penguin published What I See - a book exploring the world through the eyes of David Beckham’s eldest son. It wasn’t received particularly well then by photographers and critics alike and now, five years later it’s resurfaced thanks to a hilarious TikTok video.
If you’re rich and famous already, you can pretty much get away with delving into whatever business venture you like. Whether you want to become a fashion designer, own a bath bomb company or even be a photographer, chances are that even if you’re not very good at it you will have some success. Brooklyn Beckham’s What I See might be the exception to the rule.
Last week a video was posted to TikTok by Jack Wrighton who felt it was about time to discuss “one of the best photography books ever published”. The satirical video has already gained more than 800K views and 132K likes for tearing apart one particular picture of an elephant.
“What I love most about this photograph by a supposedly professional photographer, is that the only thing telling you it is an elephant is the caption. For all I know that could be someone hiding under a bedsheet.”
The image in question is captioned “elephants in Kenya, so hard to photograph, but incredible to see” which by any means should never appear in a photography book. No matter what type of photographer you are, it shouldn't be too difficult to capture a decent picture of an elephant on safari so long as you know your camera and understand the golden exposure trio.
The reason that Wrighton thinks this is one of the best photography books ever published is that, “if you ever feel like you have imposter syndrome as a photographer, remember that this book was published, printed and released.”
One video roasting the book wasn’t quite enough for TikTok users, who demanded a second review from Jack – who willingly obliged. This time, the picture under scrutiny was a blurry black-and-white image of what looks like people at a dinner party.
Jack kickstarts the video by apologizing for the quality of the picture he’s used but explains “it is a terrible image I’ve pulled from the internet because by no means was I ever going to buy this book and put it on my bookshelf."
Huge fan of Brooklyn Beckham's terrible photographs and even worse captions pic.twitter.com/012PeCcED4June 23, 2017
This time, Brooklyn’s poetic caption reads, “I like this picture, it’s out of focus but you can tell a lot is going on”. The footballer, turned model, turned photographer clearly has no aptitude when it comes to words and yet somehow, his editor and publishers allowed this book to become a reality.
The reviews on Amazon are equally entertaining. One customer commented “I didn’t know Brooklyn Beckham was blind” while another summarized it in one, beautifully eloquent word: “no”. In 2017, The Sun posted an article stating that it had only sold 3,890 copies since its release in June of the same year, and critics have dismissed it as a vanity project.
Brooklyn Beckham may have been penned as the “future of photography” but if that is the case then we’re all doomed. It’s sad to think we live in a world where trees are being wasted so that people with more money than talent can claim to be something they're not. If you’re gonna print a photo book, at the very least know how to expose a photo and if not, leave it to the people who actually do.
If you want to see it for yourself (or maybe buy someone a gag gift), check out the book on Amazon.