My London: Photographer Fanny Beckman

Aug 23, 2021 by

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Name: Fanny Beckman
Work: Freelance photographer & TikTok
Living: Deptford, London
Time in London: 1,5 years
Instagram: @feckman


Who is Fanny?
A portrait photographer originally from Malmö, with a big passion for gender equality and art. I am a proper foodie, love meeting new people, and vintage shopping.


And where do you live? What’s the best part about the area?
I live in Deptford, South East London. I had actually never been before moving here but I love it! It’s vibrant with lots of good food places, coffee shops, and bars. The market every Saturday is a big highlight when people from all over London meet to buy everything from fruit and vegs, furniture, clothes (both new and second hand) and artwork. Oh, and another big bonus is that it’s a 30-minute walk from Greenwich park – a huge relief during lockdown(s).


Fanny is a free-lance photographer who focuses on portraiting women


Any special places you should pay a visit there?
I highly recommend going to Lomond Coffee for a delicious brunch while soaking in the atmosphere at Deptford Market Yard. Afterward, you should go to Deptford Does Art – a shop which sells local artists’ products. Here you can find the perfect gifts for your loved ones, or treat yourself to a new pair of earrings, plant pots, posters, etc. If you’re here during the evening I recommend going for dinner at the Tapas Room and end the night at Buster Mantis for cocktails and a boogie.


How did your time in London start?
It’s been a weird time moving to London, to say the least. I’ve always wanted to live here for the cultural scene and to explore everything this city has to offer. Well, that didn’t quite go as planned. The first 3 months were great though – I had just left my full-time job to focus on photography and had lots of time to explore new places, meet inspiring people and go to art galleries. What I didn’t realize then was how much time I would spend in parks for the rest of the year. Luckily, London is full of amazing greenery and in 2021 I have managed to see all the bigger ones. Now I am ready for the hustle and bustle though!


Taking photos of women in their underwear comes naturally to me now. But sometimes I take a step back and realize the abnormality of me zooming in on a woman’s bum with a huge camera lens…

What do you do for a living?
Apart from freelancing as a portrait photographer, I’m a Trust & Safety Advisor at TikTok: I manage a team of moderators to keep the platform safe. At TikTok, I am also involved in various Diversity & Inclusion projects which I really enjoy.


Tell us about your exhibition Women of My Generation:
Women of My Generation is a multimedia project questioning beauty standards by showing diversity. After years of conversations with my friends about the toxic diet culture we live in, and how much media (and photography!) impacts our body image, I decided to once and for all challenge this. Therefore, I started to take photos of lots of different women in their bedrooms wearing underwear they felt comfortable in, sitting on their beds. It started as an open call on Instagram but grew as the word spread to more and more people. Eating disorders are increasingly common and I want to show how photography can prevent rather than fuel these issues. Women of My Generation prove that it is beyond doubt possible to be confident regardless of body size, socio-economic background, sexuality, and ethnicity.


TikTok’s panel discussion for International Women’s Day 2021, where I was invited to speak about gender portrayal in the media, and art and activism. 


… and about your podcast with the same name:
I quickly realized that this was more than a visual project. During the intimate photoshoots in people’s bedrooms, I got to hear many eye-opening stories, both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Therefore, I decided to extend the project to include interviews. I release podcast episodes on a weekly basis where I interview some of the women I have photographed. We discuss body image and one topic of their choice which has been everything from PCOS, eating disorders, older generations projecting their own eating disorders onto their kids, etc. We share many experiences but some topics are still very stigmatized to raise around the dinner table. With these conversations, I want to bring these topics to light because if we are aware of how we speak about our own bodies in front of others, we can help prevent the younger generations from struggling.


Why are photography and art so important to you?
I got my first disposable camera when I was 4 years old and ever since photography has been an important part of my life. As a kid, it was always my biggest hobby but nowadays it’s not just amusement – it’s also a way of expressing myself and how I see the world. Since I always combine my art with activism, more specifically to raise awareness of various feminist issues, I use it as a tool to challenge the society we live in. Moreover, it connects me with people from various backgrounds, both during the actual photoshoots but also via exhibitions. To summarize: art is a great way to start conversations!


Before London, you lived in Brighton for 3,5 years. Inspire us with the perfect things to do and visit for a possible weekend there!
Brighton is full of food bloggers and there’s a reason for it! It was named the second most hipster city in the world, due to the number of independent coffee shops there are. My favourites are Bond St Coffee, Twin Pines, and the Flour Pot Bakery. The best brunch you will find at 17 grams and Moksha with lots of different options. A must-do is obviously walking along the seafront. Even after years of living there I never get enough of looking at the sea which always changes colour and doing people watching while sitting on the pebbles. If pebbles are not your thing, I recommend dinner and/or drinks at Lucky Beach. It doesn’t feel like you’re in England there! Watch out for the seagulls though, they sometimes nick your food from your hands if you’re not careful!


If you have an extra day I would take the bus (or drive) to Seven Sisters – a beautiful country park where you can walk along the coast under white cliffs. Bring a picnic and enjoy the fresh air and views.


Me capturing the amazing clothes by Manon Planche – a sustainable fashion brand based in London.


Where do you wish to be in 10 years?
As a career-driven person, I must say that in 10 years’ time I want to be a full-time photographer combining Fine Art projects and sustainable fashion shoots. I want to exhibit my work around the world and open up for stigmatized conversations with my photos. On a personal level, I wouldn’t turn down a sassy apartment in Notting Hill: the 10-year-old me would have loved to pretend to be Julia Roberts, or Hugh Grant for that matter, with an orange juice in my hand walking down Portobello Road.


What is the hardest part about starting a life in England?
It’s definitely finding a good place to live. When you’re new in England it can be a bit of a shock how much you’d pay for a shared household that doesn’t meet the Scandinavian standards. You also need to be aware of hidden fees and make sure you’re with a serious agency/landlord that doesn’t overcharge or leaves you without a contract. With that said, I have now found a place I can loud and proud call my home and I appreciate it so much more after the struggles I’ve had previously.


Give us your best London life hacks!
This is not just a London hack – this goes for any city to be fair: a great way to explore a new place is by putting one thing you like on google maps. For me, I would type in ‘second-hand shops’. This might sound like an obvious thing but what I’ve realized is that it’s not just a good way to find clothes you like, but also areas that suit you. You’re most likely to find cafes that fit your style in the same area, maybe even a cool little gallery or some street art that you’d appreciate. If second-hand clothes are not your thing, you can of course type in other things and use your feet to get there – you’ll see so much more!


More London specific: everyone should spend a day walking from Kings Cross to Notting Hill, via Camden. It might sound too far but trust me, the walk along the canal and Little Venice is worth every second!