NEW YORK - Janette Beckman and Julie Grahame have spent much of their lives snapping and editing photos of some of the biggest stars of the music world. But now as they watch the coronavirus pandemic shut down their city, they're stepping out from behind the camera.
"During COVID, we're all looking for something to make us feel good," Beckman said.
"Timothy White was a really big-name celebrity photographer, really well known for his work since the '80s, I think, and he's giving us a fabulous Aretha Franklin photo," Grahame said. "We have an image of Joni Mitchell from 1968 by Baron Wolman, he was Rolling Stones magazine's first-ever photographer. Jonathan Mannion very kindly gave us an amazing picture of Biggie Smalls."
The duo is teaming up with about 50 other big-name photographers in the music industry. All of them are donating their photos for a fundraiser in order to put food on the tables of hungry New Yorkers. One of those photographers is Joe Conzo, who's known to have shot some of the earliest photos of hip-hop, which started in the mid-1970s in his native borough of the Bronx.
"The picture that is up there is of the Cold Crush Brothers and they are one of the founding fathers of this culture we call hip-hop and they were an MC group with a Puerto Rican and African-American DJ Tony tone and Charlee Chase," Conzo said.
The collection of iconic photos of music legends goes on sale on Grahame’s website acurator.com on Tuesday, May 26, at 10 a.m. The sale features exactly 50 donated photos and only 10 prints of each photo will be available. Each photo costs $150 and 100% of those proceeds will go to the nonprofit God’s Love We Deliver. Talk of the fundraiser has been spreading throughout the industry, even LL Cool J made a shoutout on his Instagram page earlier this week.
"Taking food to somebody and seeing the joy on someone's face and they open the door they're in the wheelchair it was very emotional so that's kind of how we decided to do something for God's Love," Beckman said.
Janette and Julie, who are both originally from London, have called New York their home several decades now. This fundraiser is a way for them to give back to a city that for so long has provided the perfect landscape for their work.