In today’s exclusive, writer Liang Ying explores the world of BEACASSO – or Beatriz Valim – finding solace in another form of art besides the literary: photography. Edited by founding ed. Athena. Photography by Beatriz Valim.
Many people find art within the pages of their favourite books, in the form of quotes that recall layered and rich meaning — “Art was supposed to make you feel something” from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is my literary art treasure. When I look at photographer Beatriz Valim’s works, the visuals, shadows, silhouettes and striking colours recall that quote, because I do feel something: the art of being represented by a photographer in a world of white-washing.
Beatriz, who has a Brazilian-American identity, often features numerous ethnic and racial identities on her page. In a world where whitewashing is worryingly becoming more commonplace, such as when the contestants for India’s Miss Universe received criticism from the public for their extremely fair skin, Beatriz’s works inspires the masses to embrace their beautiful self, regardless of their skin colour, seeking to illuminate the beauty which is already there — and imploring the viewer to appreciate themselves and their communities in a mesmerising manner with her work, which illuminates and embraces different diverse identities.
“I treat all my models as if they are my best friend, [and] this way I am able to connect [with] a model regardless if we met the day of the shoot or if we’re meeting for our third shoot.” As photography often requires the photographer and model have to understand and collaborate in order to piece a picture that blows the mind away, Beatriz’s amiable and respectable attitude is what makes her work so well with her models, even empowering them in their work despite the difference in community or cultural perspective. It’s just as Edward Steichen once said, “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”
“At the end of the day we’re all creators, and even though we may practice a different medium of art, we’re able to connect with our craft as one,” shares Beatriz.
She adds, “the most enjoyable aspect of the job is being able to connect with so many artists. Especially in the wonderful space of Twitter, I’m able to connect with painters, graphic designers, animators… from all different parts of the world.” While cultivating amazing relationships with her network of collaborators, in-depth interaction with each new creator pushes Beatriz in a new space of creation, challenging her to bring out different perspectives. “One of the most challenging aspects about the job is the job itself, but I love it. Photographers are superheroes, they (usually) have to come up with a concept, a location, show up to the shoot and work their hardest to grab every amazing possible shot (in every crazy angle imaginable), come home and then edit.
Editing itself (for me) takes hours. Sometimes I stay logged in for 8-10 hours (the horror) but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Oftentimes, Beatriz treats her followers with insider-peeks on her work, showcasing stages of the behind-the-scenes action that she puts into each masterpiece. Some time of the hours she stays “logged on” are encapsulated in Tweets like this one. “I think behind the scenes peeks are super fun and a great way for people to see how a photographer works. Most people don’t know what really goes on to get that 1 super cool shot, so I began having a friend in every shoot take behind the scenes photos/videos for me.”
With the power of social media – namely Twitter – Beatriz has made a name and reputation online for her photography by reaching a wider audience – even compared to using Instagram – because of the handy dandy retweet button. “I find it makes it a whole lot easier to connect and start a conversation with your followers as well. Twitter has been helping almost every artist I’ve met make their businesses boom.”
“I would say Twitter is the most useful platform because it has helped me reach a wider audience than Instagram ever has because of a retweet button. I find it makes it a whole lot easier to connect and start a conversation with your followers as well. Instagram to me, is a little tricky. The algorithm works against artists–not with them”, she remarks.
Beatriz’ insight on her process and rationale for certain social media-related decisions highlights how empowering herself and others through photography is often a work of patience, perseverance and passion. Through her creations, we learn that photography is more than just a click of the camera; it’s the overall message and meaning behind what she does and the joy she derives from working with others that gives her work such a unique and captivating quality.
We wrap it up with a heartwarming moment – “What is one thing that has kept you going or inspired you thus far, or a pivotal moment in your own youth that pushed you to bring us your beautiful BECASSO works?”
It is then that we wonder what exactly motivates this photographer of power to do what she does. “One thing that has pushed me to create”, she starts, a grin appearing on her face, “is knowing that I am able to inspire others to pick up their camera and start taking pictures, either if it is for the very first time, or if it has been months.”
What a powerful and memorable message for us to take away – that we rise by lifting others. Thank you, Beatriz, for your contribution to the photography industry! You photograph in a way that uplifts and empowers, and we believe that your ethic and personality is energizing and empowering in itself.