Jamie Beck, an American in Provence

For the American photographer, leaving the skyscrapers of Manhattan and moving to southern France was a life-changing experience. She showcased her new Provençal surroundings in a popular Instagram account, and recently gathered her photos in a coffee-table book.
© Jamie Beck

It all started five years ago when an airplane hit a patch of severe turbulence. Jamie Beck, then a commercial photographer in Manhattan, thought she was going to die. Amid the panic and fear, she was struck with a sudden realization: “I’ll never know what it’s like to live in France!” She survived, but stepping off the plane she felt like a new woman. One month later, she left the Upper West Side and moved to southern France. “Discovering the region, I was blown away,” she says. “I fell in love with the Lubéron mountains in Provence, where I now live with my husband and our daughter.”

Jamie lives in Apt, a village of 11,000 inhabitants known for its vineyards and photogenic rolling landscape. Her photos of the region’s sublime natural beauty and her intricately composed indoor shots get a lot of attention on Instagram. She also does self-portraits, often elegantly dressed and sometimes in the nude. She works with “natural light only” and composes her shots using “seasonal fruits and vegetables from the local market” to “bring nature” into her studio. The results are stunning. Her photos of local food and flowers resemble the still lifes of the great painters who inspire her: “Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, and Matisse, as well as Rachel Ruysch of the Netherlands and America’s Mary Cassatt.”

© Jamie Beck
© Jamie Beck
© Jamie Beck
© Jamie Beck
© Jamie Beck

When France entered lockdown in March 2022, demand for Jamie’s commercial photography took a big hit. So she used the extra time to post one artistic composition each day under the hashtag #IsolationCreation. Each photo has an inspiring message and is taken at home with whatever materials are on hand and with whatever light the sun provides. Jamie keeps her followers engaged by posting behind-the-scenes photos and videos explaining her workflow. Between designing, composing, and editing her shots, it can take up to ten hours to produce a single photo! But her hard work has paid off: With 1,000 new followers a day for a total of 372,000 at the time of writing, Jamie Beck has become one of the biggest American influencers in France, while maintaining a unique identity that sets her apart from other influencers in Paris.

She sells prints, posters, and smartphone accessories worldwide and works with a growing number of partners. She shares her name and ideas with brands such as Duvelleroy (Paris-based fan maker), Monica Rich Kosann ( jewelry), La Bella Figura (cosmetics and perfume), Luxe Provence (clothing), and Domaine Milan (biodynamic winemaker in Saint-Rémy-de- Provence). She is enjoying life as an artist and businesswoman. She just published a coffee-table book of her photographs, and she is now looking to open her own gallery. “Over here, I am free to create. The French countryside is my muse!”

An American in Provence: Art, Life and Photography
by Jamie Beck, Simon & Schuster, 2022.


Article published in the January 2021 issue of France-Amérique. Subscribe to the magazine.