As Brooklyn Beckham, at the age of 16, embarks on one of many career options at his disposal, it’s hard not to hear the screams and cries of Nepotism around the world. As the photographer of the new Burberry campaign, the son of David & Victoria Beckham hasn’t hesitated to show his delight and excitement at his new job, whilst professional photographers around the world rile with anger as they struggle to even land a small-time gig after years and years of commitment to crafting their art and skill.
I’ve read article after article on this topic, and quite fittingly came to a conclusion on where I stand; let me explain further.
There are essentially four sides to this Beckham – Burberry kafuffle. The first being Burberry’s – a worldwide fashion brand that is highly respected in its industry, who let’s be honest isn’t new to controversy and publicity (good and bad). Their decision to enlist Brooklyn Beckham as the photographer of their new campaign was incredibly thought through and a clever move. If you think about it, Brooklyn’s followers around the world are exactly the target audience Burberry are trying to reach in the near future and his surname is of course a huge bonus along with it. It’s not a case of David & Victoria banging down Burberry’s door demanding that they employ their son, it’s a case of Burberry securing all eyes on them (which has clearly worked).
The second side falls to where the Nepotism begins, Brooklyn’s hard working, come-from-nothing parents, David & Victoria Beckham; who in my opinion, are two successful people who rightly so have made their way to the top as highly sought after brands. In what world would any parent, who has worked so hard to make a name for themselves, not use their connections and network to ensure their children have a good standing for their future? I say this; because I have no shame in saying my Dad’s network has helped shape my career in the past. According to YouGov research, 84% of us in the UK would use personal contacts to ease our children into a job.
Which leads me on to the third side – Brooklyn Beckham. Is it really his fault that his name alone can create incredible opportunities for him and his siblings for the rest of their lives? Yes he has a choice whether or not to take advantage of it, but if you were a Beckham or a Kardashian or a Smith, or any second generation famous name, wouldn’t you feel as though you should use the platform that has willingly or unwillingly been provided for you?
From personal experience, there’s one thing getting through the door with a name, and there’s another when it comes to performing and delivering your share of the bargain – oozing passion, committing to hard work and not taking the opportunity for granted.
I’m sure Brooklyn Beckham is clued up enough to realise he didn’t get this gig on his own. There’s a dark side to this for the kid that’s got the job because of his/her Mum or Dad – you may never be more than that in other people’s eyes. You’ll constantly be looking over your shoulder, building up insecurities that people think you have no talent, no skill or no right to be there. It’s a tough thing to be dealing with, but if you’re a strong and determined character, it’s definitely something that can be overcome. I still struggle to this day with these very insecurities. When I’m presented with opportunities through my Dad’s network I can’t help but wonder if they truly believe in my work or talent or if it’s because they highly regard my Dad and his business.
The fourth side lies with hundreds of thousands of talented photographers all around the world who have worked countless years, months, days and hours to be recognised for their greatness. Is it fair to them? No. Fashion photographer Chris Floyd told the Guardian that Burberry’s decision to employ Brooklyn was a “devaluation of photography” that showed a lack of respect for hardworking, experienced professionals. I couldn’t agree more, but who’s to say Brooklyn isn’t talented in his own right? Let’s hope he and others in his position realise how blessed and lucky they are. Because unfortunately, as much as this pains professionals to see a 16 year old famous kid doing their dream job, Nepotism isn’t going anywhere.
Nepotism exists on a small to a large scale, from local to international heights, from Hollywood to Bollywood, from Showbiz to Politics. There’s nowhere Nepotism hasn’t been and there’s nowhere it won’t go…Call it an unfair advantage.